--- Home Page
--- What's New
--- Features
--- Features
--- E-mail

NOTE: Refresh this page each time you visit to ensure you see the latest updates

NOTE: All pictures posted on these pages are reduced in size; click for larger versions

The latest update as of May 30, 2023

Chaos in the Cornfield

We're presenting the photos and results from last weekend's "(Double) Chaos In The Cornfield" event at Eddyville Raceway Park in a somewhat inverted, reversed, upside down, inside out order. Our first posting from the event was chronological, showing the test session from Friday night. Then we fast forwarded to the final rounds from Sunday evening. Now we've got the two qualifying sessions from Saturday, for both the Funny Car Chaos and Nitro Chaos competitors.

Next, we'll post the semi-final rounds from Sunday afternoon, then, after a one-week break while we go wine touring in the Okanagan Valley (BC), we'll be back with the final qualifying session and first round eliminations from Sunday. It doesn't quite make sense but when we post the full event on our Features page, we'll have everything in the correct order. The captions will be filled in throughout this evening, but we may not get them all done before we leave for our road trip.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Session #1

Neil Girot - 'Twist 'N Shout' --- Jesse Clark - 'JCR Racing' (near lane) vs 
Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (far lane)

(LEFT) Kicking off qualifying with his "Twist 'N Shout" entry, Neil Girot launched slowly but kept the pedal down and stopped the timers with a decent 4.722 - 160.89 to put the first set of numbers on the board.

(RIGHT) Running what appeared to be the ex-Doug Schneider "Milliken Monster", newcomer to the series, Jesse Clark left hard before lifting early as the car got out of shape, but still stopped the clocks with a solid 4.299 at only 127.05 mph. In the far lane, and partially obscured was Mike Buchanan in his fmiliar "Hombre" Vega who put down a 4.833 - 143.27 pass.

Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' --- Julie Nataas - 'Randy Meyer Racing'

(LEFT) The next pair featured blown alcohol against injected nitro, with Jim Chase and his '57 Chevy-bodied "Wicked Quick" running strong to the finish line with a 4.366 - 179.28 effort.

(RIGHT) His opponent, NHRA Top Alcohol regular Julie Nataas in the still unwrapped A/Fuel Funny Car hesitated at the starting line, then went into immediate tire smoke and coasted to a 9.395 - 53.73 time.

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (near lane) vs 
Tony Arcuri - 'Firefighter' (far lane)

(LEFT) Launching strongly enroute to the quickest run of the first four pairs, Steve Timoszyk in the beautiful Monza-bodied "Detroit Tiger" lit up the scoreboards with a 4.237 - 173.88 to put everyone on notice that he was ready to compete.

(RIGHT) A pair of blown alky Hemi-powered cars came up next, with the Mustang-bodied "Brutus", driven by Chris Schneider (near lane) was matched against the Ford Crown Victoria-bodied "Firefighter" of Colorado's Tony Arcuri. Schneider left first and drove it hard to the finish line with the first 4-teen of the day, a very good 4.178 - 171.89 to jump to the top of the list. Falling back just a little was Arcuri who stopped the clocks with a decent 4.398 - 166.05 to land in the #4 spot after the first five pairs of the session.

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' --- Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho'

(LEFT) The FCC series champion from 2022, Kirk Williams, brought his all-conquering "200 Proof" to the line next, with everyone expecting the first 3-second run of the day. Staging with the revs way up, he launched hard but was smoking the tires at the 60' mark and headed towards the centerline before lifting and idling down the track to a 8.494 - 52.31 pass.

(RIGHT) Aiming to be the first into the 3's was the blown fuel Firebird-bodied "Nitro Psycho" of Texan Chuck Loftin, but he dialled into too much power, and/or clutch, and heading skyward on the launch then towards the guardrail before lifting and coasting to a 7.820 - 65.23. Not shown was the car in the other lane, making his first appearance at an FCC event in two years, as Robbie Massey in his Top Alcohol Funny Car blasted to a 3.853 - 191.57 to set the new low e.t. of the session.

Tom Furches - 'Made In America' (near lane) vs 
Danny Mann - 'Pony Up' (far lane) --- Monty Stotz - 'Blue Thunder' (near lane) vs 
Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane)

(LEFT) It started looking like the left (near) lane was contributing to wheelies as Tom Furches in the "Made In America" Corvette brough the wheels up to start his run. He brought the front end down quickly but slowly drifted toward the centerline before shutting off to a 4.823 at 104.97 mph. In the far lane, the Mach I Mustang-bodied "Pony Up" entry of Danny Mann waited at the line before launching solidly and putting a 4.575 - 153.06 on the ladder.

(RIGHT) It was a case of "Double Thunder" next as Monty Stotz in his beautiful blue "Blue Thunder" Camaro (near lane) matched up against the "Ballew Thunder" Camaro of Jordan Ballew (far lane). Stopping the clocks first was Jordan Ballew with a solid 4.344 - 160.31, while Monty Stotz trailed only slightly with a good 4.424 - 150.70 effort.

Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' --- Lance Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Brothers Racing'

(LEFT) Getting seriously sideways on the burnout, the "Atomic Punk" Camaro of Washington state's Don Knoblauch got straightened out before making his run. Still being tuned by "Big Show" nitro Funny Car racer Jeff Diehl, the Punk put down a solid early shutoff effort of 4.299 - 138.67 to take the #5 spot on the list at that point.

(RIGHT) Facing Knoblauch in the near lane was NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car racer, Lance Van Hauen, in the "Van Hauen Bros." car. Lance pounded out a #2 qualifying 3.910 - 185.49 pass to take a firm hold on a spot in the "A" field.

Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love' --- Casey Geeslin - 'The Gambler'

(LEFT) Competing in his third FCC event in his first year on the tour, Mississippi's Michael Neal in his Nova-bodied "Burnin' Love entry turned a 4.771 - 147.25 to sit near the bottom of the "B" field at this point in the session.

(RIGHT) A beautiful addition to the FCC circuit this season is the Camaro-bodied "The Gambler" of Casey Geeslin. He made a strong run but didn't receive a timeslip as his opponent, Shayne Lawson in the "Man O' War II" (not shown), took out the finish line timing blocks. Lawson did stop the timers with a 3.76 - 202 mph, but that was thrown out with his boundary violation.

Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' --- Justin Herbst - 'The Executioner'

(LEFT) Launching a little early (note the redlight), Connecticut's Wayne Hofmann punched out a good 4.279 - 166.67 in his Dodge Omni-bodied "China Syndrome" (near lane) to take the #6 spot on the ladder. Acing him out of the #5 spot was the (mostly obscured) "Mile-High Express" of Colorado's Steve Griboski who nearly dropped into the 3-second zone with a 4.018 - 185.19 that left him in the #3 position at the end of the session.

(RIGHT) A hard launch with the front wheels skimming the surface, the Corvette-bodied "The Executioner" of "Hot Rod Herbie" (Justin Herbst) put down a decent 4.466 - 162.22 to stake a claim for a spot in the "B" field in the #14 position.

Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed'

The hard running NHRA Top Alcohol entry of Kansan Mike Newkirk lived up to its nickname "Disturbed" as that must have been what Newkirk was feeling after skating around at the 330' mark and taking out both the e.t. and mph timing blocks at the finish line. Even though a 4.09 - 151.57 showed up on the scoreboard, the times were thrown out for the centerline infraction.

And that put an end to the first qualifying session for the Funny Car Chaos racers. The "A" field numbers ranged from 3.853 (Robbie Massey) to 4.299 (Don Knoblauch), while the "B" field ran from Jordan Ballew's 4.344 to Danny Mann's 4.575. Finally, the "C" field e.t.'s started with Neil Girot's 4.722 to Dustin Bradford's 8.463. With four hard runners (Kirk Williams, Julie Nataas, Shayne Lawson, and Mike Newkirk) sitting below the #24 spot, the fields were certain to tighten considerably in the two qualifying sessions remaining.

NITRO CHAOS - Qualifying Session #1

After a very good first session of Funny Car Chaos qualfiying, the volume was cranked up LOUD when the first pair of blown fuel Nitro Chaos cars thundered through the waterbox and burned out to get their first qualifying session started.

Dale Creasy Jr. - 'Tek-Pak' (near lane) vs 
Mitch King - 'Bone Shaker' (far lane) --- Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' (near lane) vs 
Brian Inouye - 'Duanheimer & Inouye' (far lane)

(LEFT) Launching very hard with the header flames clearly visible in the afternoon, Dale Creasy Jr. (near lane) blasted off the line with an .891 time at the 60' mark, then lost traction at the 330' mark, but still crossed the finish line with a great 3.947 - 147.20 clocking. In the far lane, Mitch King had trouble staging the "Bone Shaker" and was timed out before launching, losing traction and shutting off with no time or speed recorded.

(RIGHT) Switching back and forth from Funny Car Chaos and Nitro Chaos, Levi Keenen opened his weekend with the Plymouth Arrow-bodied "Illinois Thunder" with a very good 4.068 - 181.74 in his short-stroke, 413-CID NHRA Heritage Series engine combination.

Jim Gifford - 'Svengali' --- Joey Haas - 'Nimrod 2.0'

(LEFT) Making his return to Chaos competition after a long absence, Pennsylvania's Jim Gifford laid down a very hard burnout in his "Svengali" entry. When the ambers flashed, he didn't waste any time getting down the track, stopping the clocks with a 3.947 - 174.49 to slot into the #2 spot behind Dale Creasy by just a few ten thousandths of a second.

(RIGHT) It didn't take long for Creasy and Gifford to drop down the ladder, as it only took 3.887 seconds at just 157.78 for Joey Haas to put the Big Show-capable "Nimrod 2.0" to the top of the heap in the #1 spot.

Pete Dove - 'Back from the Ashes' --- Dave Hill - 'Mad Max'

(LEFT) And it didn't take very long for the #1 spot to go to Pete Dove as he drove the "Back From The Ashes" fuel altered to a new low e.t. of 3.642 - 193.38. Not shown was his opponent Jody Austin in his "Bushwhacker" fuel altered, who wasn't far behind at the finish line, carding an excellent 3.745 - 171.10 for the #2 spot on the list. A pair of great side-by-side passes by a pair of very hard running AA/Fuel Altereds.

(RIGHT) It was two blown fuel Funny Cars next, as Dave Hill in the Mustang-bodied "Mad Max" tried hard, but tire shake and dropped cylinders forced him to lift early and shut off to a 6.924 - 71.74 time. Mostly obscured in the far lane was the "Irish Car Bomb" of Tim Cullinan who made a full run, clocking in at 4.082 - 169.36. Then the fun started when only one chute came out, and late, as the car went off the end of the track into the cornfield. Thankfully, unlike Dave Gallegos's car-destroying excursion into the cornfield last year, Cullinan was able to get the car stopped early and it appeared that there was no damage to the Camaro-bodied entry.

Dave Brown - 'Beedy & Malloy (near lane) vs 
Anthony Whitfield - 'Mighty Mouse' (far lane) --- Matt Sackman - 'Hangsterfers' (near lane) vs 
Megan Meyer - 'Queen Bee' (far lane)

(LEFT) It was a dragster, Dave Brown driving the "Beedy & Malloy" car (near lane) versus Anthony Whitfield in his small-block Chevy powered "Mighty Mouse" fuel altered in the far lane. Whitfield was up in smoke on the launch and coasted to a 7.179 - 56.19 clocking, while Brown got a little further before running into trouble and shuttin off early, carding a 4.833 - 127.80 time.

(RIGHT) Two of the four Randy Meyer Racing cars met in the next pairing, as the A/Fuel dragsters of Matt Sackman (near lane), driving the usually Julie Nataas driven "OTG" entry, blitzed the clocks with a great 3.727 - 174.08 to grab the #2 spot in the "A" field. In the far lane, Rachel Meyer ran hard to the 330' mark, before losing traction and slowing to a 4.442 - 117.55 in her "Rachel Meyer Racing" entry.

Brian Kohlmann - '' --- Todd Bruce - 'The Bull'

(LEFT) This looks like something out of the 'Twilight Zone' as the STREET-LEGAL '34 Ford coupe of Brian Kohlmann regularly runs in "Drag Week" competition on gasoline, and starts this beast on gas before switching over to nitro. He had trouble keeping the fire lit after the burnout, but got it staged, and launched hard before heading for the guardrail and lifting. The scoreboards read 7.380 - 80.14, but the crowd was more than impressed with the cool factor of the street driven hot rod.

(RIGHT) Things got very serious with the next pair as Todd Bruce driving the Cliff Bakx owned and tuned Canadian "The Bull" A/Fuel dragster, blasted down the track to a 3.618 - 216.35 clocking. The only thing keeping him from setting low e.t. and top speed was the car in the other lane (almost totally obscured). That was Megan Meyer, two time NHRA National Champion in Top Alcohol Dragster, who jumped all the way to #1 with a brilliant 3.595 - 221.57 effort. That moved the bump spot for the "A" field down to a 3.947 with two pairs remaining in the staging lanes.

Joe Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' --- Dusty Hunt - 'Fuellish Addiction'

(LEFT) Running strongly to the 330' mark before lifting, Joe Gallegos hustled the "Nitro Clown" AA/Fuel Dragster to a 4.225 - 148.71 timeslip that slotted him into the bottom half of the "B" field as the first qualifying session came to a conclusion.

(RIGHT) The last pair of the session featured Dusty Hunt in the "Fuellish Addiction" Funny Car getting out of shape and shutting off to a 5.078 - 95.24, while Gary Wheeler Jr. in the "Brook & Wheeler" AA/Fuel Dragster made it a little further down track before clicking it to a 4.551 - 112.44 to place him just outside the "B" field in the #17 position.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Session #2

Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (near lane) vs 
Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' (far lane) --- Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down A Dream'



Alex Barker - 'Back In Black' (near lane) vs 
Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (far lane) --- Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) vs 
Danny Mann - 'Pony Up' (far lane)



Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love' --- Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (near lane) vs 
Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love' (far lane)



Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' (near lane) vs 
Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho' (far lane) --- Justin Herbst - 'The Executioner' (near lane) vs 
Kris Battey - 'Batmobile' (far lane)



Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' (near lane) vs 
Casey Geeslin - 'The Gambler' (far lane) --- Robbie Massey - '' (near lane) vs 
Jesse Clark - 'JCR Racing' (far lane)



Tony Arcuri - 'Firefighter' --- Tony Arcuri - 'Firefighter' (near lane) vs 
Julie Nataas - 'Randy Meyer Racing' (far lane)



Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (near lane) vs 
Steve Griboski - 'Mile-High Express' (far lane) --- Neil Girot - 'Twist 'N Shout' (near lane) vs 
Wade Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Brothers Racing' (far lane)



Monty Stotz - 'Blue Thunder' (near lane) vs 
Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' (far lane) --- Tom Furches - 'Made In America' (near lane) vs 
Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' (far lane)



Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop'

NITRO CHAOS - Qualifying Session #2

Dale Creasy Jr. - 'Tek-Pak' (near lane) vs 
Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' (far lane) --- Brian Inouye



Jody Austin - 'Bushwhacker' (near lane) vs 
Matt Sackman - 'Hangsterfers - OTG' (far lane) --- Jim Gifford - 'Svengali'



Joey Haas - 'Nimrod 2.0' (near lane) vs 
Dave Brown - 'Beedy & Malloy' (far lane) --- Mitch King - 'Bone Shaker'



Brian Kohlmann --- Dave Hill - 'Mad Max'



Megan Meyer - 'Queen Bee' (near lane) vs 
Rachel Meyer - 'Rachel Meyer Racing' --- Andy Fangman - 'Pandas Network' (near lane) vs 
Joe Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' (far lane)



Anthony Whitfield - 'Mighty Mouse' --- Tim Cullinan - 'Irish Car Bomb'



The latest update as of May 29, 2023

Chaos in the Cornfield

It was a great weekend of racing at the third FUNNY CAR CHAOS event of the 2023 season at Eddyville Raceway Park (Oskaloosa, IA). Making it a true "double down" show was the addition of two full fields of NITRO CHAOS cars, ranging from full-on Nitro Funny Cars, to real Fuel Altereds, NHRA A/Fuel dragsters, front-engine blown fuel dragsters, and just for the heck of it, a blown fuel Pro Mod. The fans certainly got their money's worth with some close racing, great performances like Dale Creasy Jr.'s pass in the second qualifying session Saturday night that lit up the scoreboards with a 3.401 - 215.21. When qualfying came to a close yesterday afternoon, the bump spot for the "B" field in Nitro Chaos stood at 3.991, held down by Levi Keenen's NHRA Heritage series-legal Funny Car. Not to be overshadowed were the Funny Car Chaos contingent which had their entire "A" field qualified at 3.889 or better.


Megan Meyer - 'Queen Bee' (near lane) vs 
Dale Creasy Jr. - 'Tek-Pak' (far lane)

We've only got time to post one picture this morning, but the "A" field final round clash in the Nitro Chaos division was a classic. In the near lane, in her Gunk-sponsored "Queen Bee" A/Fuel dragster was Megan Meyer. Facing her was the quickest and fastest car of the weekend, the Tek Pak-sponsored "Big Show" nitro Funny Car of Dale Creasy Jr.. When the lights flashed it was Meyer away first by less than a hundredth, but Creasy took an early lead with a stout .892 time at the 60' clocks, and held the lead until the 500' mark. He was forced to lift at that point and "coasted" through the lights at 3.54 - 192.06, while Meyer kept the loud pedal down and rang up a winning 3.54 - 223.10 time. The true-win margin was just .015 seconds. What a fitting end to a great weekend of racing at Eddyville Raceway Park.


Wade Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Brothers Racing' 
(near lane) vs Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' (far lane)

Usually the feature attraction at Funny Car Chaos races, the "A" final had to play second fiddle to the Nitro Chaos gang. In a bit of a surprise, the Van Hauen Brothers (near lane) took the win over the equally surprising Mike Newkirk (far lane) in his "Disturbed" entry. Newkirk qualified #4, while Wade (or was it Lance?) Van Hauen sat in the #6 position. Both drivers put down solid efforts to reach the final and with their wealth of experience in NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car competition, neither driver was unprepared for the match. It was a very close race all the way to the finish line, but Newkirk came up short on two counts: second across the finish line and taking out the finish line timing block. That invalidated his great effort of 3.79 - 195.99, and to add injury to insult, he ended up against the wall in the circle track area of the facility. In the other lane, Wade (or is it Lance?) Van Hauen took his first ever win at an FCC event, turning on the winlight with an excellent 3.75 - 200.98 clocking, his best of the weekend. A very exciting way to finish the event, and the good news is that Newkirk was uninjured and damage to his car was minor.


Jim Gifford - 'Svengali' (near lane) vs 
Gary Wheeler - 'Brook & Wheeler' (far lane)

Despite two very different body styles, with Jim Gifford in his "Svengali" Funny Car (near lane) and Gary Wheeler Jr. in the classic front-engined dragster (far lane), but racers were running blown fuel engines. They had qualified at the top of the "B" field, with Gifford #1 and Wheeler #2, so it was very fitting that they met in the final. Both cars left hard, with big header flames, but just past the 330' mark, Wheeler's mount started dancing around, eventually getting up on three wheels before he was able to get it back under control. That opened the door for Gifford to turn on the winlight, with his best run of the weekend, a 3.70 - 195.48, while Wheeler coasted across the line at 4.58 - 104.24 for the loss.


Tom Furches - 'Made In America' (near lane) 
vs Steve Griboksi - 'Mile-High Express' (far lane)

The "B" field final pitted two Coloradans, both driving Firebird-bodied cars, and both running Hemis, but Tom Furches (near lane) was running blown on alcohol, while opponent Steve Griboski in the newly rebodied "Mile-High Express" (far lane) was blown on nitro. Griboski had a mishap last week at a match race at Bandimere Speedway, which wiped out his very cool looking '65 Mustang body, but he was able to recover in time to compete at Eddyville. Completing the amazing comeback was his excellent 3.95 - 195.91 pass for the win over a close 4.01 - 179.50 from Furches. There was a large cloud of smoke in Griboski's lane as he crossed the lane but the track was clear and the cars both made the turnout at the end of the track.


Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho' (near lane) vs 
Justin Herbst - 'Executioner' (far lane)

With four final rounds in FCC competition under his belt, Chuck Loftin (near lane) was primed to take the event win in his "Nitro Psycho". Facing him was Justin Herbst (far lane) in his "Executioner" entry. When the lights came down, Loftin launched into another wheelstand (he'd been fighting them all weekend), but pedalled and kept trying until he gave up just before the finish line. Meanwhile, Herbst was trucking to the tune of a 4.27 - 165.87 winning time. Loftin clicked it off to a 4.48 - 130.55 losing effort. Herbst also brought the wheels up on the launch but kept it under control and glued to the track for the win.

The latest update as of May 28, 2023

Chaos in the Cornfield

As promised, here's the photos from Friday evening's Test Session for the Funny Car Chaos and Nitro Chaos entrants at Eddyville Raceway Park. Not everyone ran in this session but there was quite a variety of car types, fuels burned and engine configurations on display. We'll fill in the blanks - ie. the captions - on Tuesday as we've already got a heap of pics to post from yesterday's first two qualifying sessions, and of course, today's final qualifier and eliminations. Stay tuned for updates over the next two days.

Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Pyscho' (near lane) vs 
Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane) --- Tom Furches - 'Made In America'



Jesse Clark - 'Milliken Monster' --- Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' (near lane) vs 
Jesse Clark - 'Milliken Monster' (far lane)

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (near lane) vs 
Phil Landram - 'Eazy Money 2' (far lane) --- Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (near lane) vs 
Phil Landram - 'Eazy Money 2' (far lane)

Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' --- Tony Arcuri - 'Firefighter'



Dave Hill - 'Mad Max' --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II'



Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (near lane) vs 
Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' (far lane) --- Kris Battey - 'Batmobile' (near lane) vs 
Danny Mann - 'Pony Up' (far lane)



Joe Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' (far lane) --- Robbie Massey - 'H Auto Group' (near lane) vs 
Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (far lane)



Rachel Meyer - 'Randy Meyer Racing' --- Rachel Meyer - 'Randy Meyer Racing' (near lane) vs 
Julie Nataas - 'Randy Meyer Racing' (far lane)



Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' --- Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love' (near lane) vs 
Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' (far lane)



Casey Geeslin - 'The Gambler' (near lane) vs 
John Umlauf - 'Mass Chaos' (far lane) --- Gary Wheeler (near lane) vs Todd Bruce - 'The Bull' 
(far lane)



Tim Cullinan - 'Irish Car Bomb' --- Jody Austin - 'The Bushwhacker'



Howard Seldon - 'Proclaimer'

The latest update as of May 27, 2023

Chaos in the Cornfield

Last night was a PRO test session for all the Nitro Chaos and Funny Car Chaos entrants at Eddyville Raceway. Taking place in the evening, starting at dusk and continuing into the night, the header flames from the fuel burners lit up the sky and entertained the crowds that flocked to the event. Today sees the first two qualifying sessions for both the NC and FCC racers, starting with the first session mid-afternoon and the second go-round starting at 6pm. Our intrepid photographer, "BIG" Bob Snyder is there, despite some mobility issues and he's sent a batch of photos from the test session. Unfortunately, we won't have time to post them today, but will get them up tomorrow morning.

Highlight of the evening was the Ken Singleton tuned, Shayne Lawson owned and driven "Man O' War II" that set low e.t. and top speed of the evening at 3.73 - 203.62 to take a $750 bonus cheque from Funny Car Chaos sponsors Wulff Pumps, Spell Paving, and Quick Performance. On the Nitro Chaos side, Todd Bruce in the Cliff Bakx owned and tuned Canadian "The Bull" A/Fuel Dragster. We haven't gone far enough through the FLOracing.com video to check out his numbers but nonetheless, the $750 went to Bruce and Bakx.

The latest update as of May 26, 2023

Chaos in the Cornfield

Today is the first of three days of Funny Car Chaos and Nitro Chaos racing at Eddyville Raceway Park. Testing begins this evening and qualifying starts tomorrow, with final qualifying and eliminations on Sunday. With more than 50 cars entered, and at more than half of them burning nitro, it's going to be one of the biggest non-NHRA events of the 2023 season. We expect to see some of the first photos from "BIG" Bob Snyder in our inbox tomorrow morning, with many more to follow over the next few days. Stay tuned!

The latest update as of May 22, 2023

After a very long - nearly three decades - hiatus from the sport, Victoria, BC's Stan Sipos is back in a Top Alcohol Funny Car. He purchased the complete Ruckman Brothers operation recently and has old friend and former tuner of his previous entries, Les Davenport turning the wrenches and making the calls. Stan went through the re-licensing process at the Texas Motorplex during the Central Region event last weekend and came through with flying colours. His best numbers were a 5.633 at "only" 240.17 mph. More news on this new/old team as it develops.

Stan Sipos new car --- Stan Sipos new car

Stan Sipos new car --- Stan Sipos new car

The latest update as of May 11, 2023

5th annual West Texas Chaos Nationals

The second event on the Funny Car Chaos 2023 calendar went off without any trouble as 26 cars put on quite a show for the West Texas fans at Penwell-Knights Raceway in Odessa. Some familiar winners took home trophies, taking wins over a few surprising contenders. After a six week gap in the schedule due to the postponement of the State Capitol Raceway event (Baton Rouge, LA), the FCC season will be heating up over the next few months, with their next race in just three weeks at Eddyville Raceway Park with the inaugaral "Chaos in the Cornfield" doubleheader. That will feature not only the Funny Car Chaos regulars, but the Nitro Chaos contingent as they continue with their first four race championship season. It's guaranteed to be an event that you won't want to miss. And we'll be bringing coverage of the race courtesy of our stalwart photographer, "Big" Bob Snyder.

"A" Field - First Round

Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' --- Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter'

(LEFT) Eliminations started with the "High Heaven" Camaro of Keith Jackson facing off against the "Cone Hunter" Corvette of New Mexico's Lyle Greenberg. After a rough time in qualifying, Jackson was able to muscle his way into the "A" field in the final session. He followed up that 3-second effort with a very good 3.963 - 168.22 pass here, but fell to a holeshot by Greenberg.

(RIGHT) Starting from the #6 spot in the field with a best of 4.010 - 188.68 in qualifying, Greenberg was able to push the "Cone Hunter" into the 3's with a great 3.982 - 189.47 to take the win over Jackson. Lyle left first by a .116 to .135 margin, and hung on for the win by a true win margin of just eight thousandths of a second. That had to be one of the closest races in Funny Car Chaos history.

Steve Griboski - 'Mile-High Express' --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II'

(LEFT) The unique early Mustang bodied "Mile-High Express" of Colorado's Steve Griboski held down the #8 position in the "A" field and earned a first round match with low qualifier Keith Zimmerer (not shown). Griboski gave it a good effort with a 4.023 - 189.31 but fell short of catching the quick leaving (.009 r.t.) Zimmerer. The margin on the scoreboards was just five hundredths, but the reaction times made the difference several car lengths at the finish line.

(RIGHT) The final pairing of the round featured Jeff Cameron (not shown), against Shayne Lawson in the gorgeous "Man O' War II". Lawson had lane choice by virtue of his #4 qualfiying 3.937 pass, but fell back a bit to a 4.002 - 190.60 to lose against Cameron's superior 3.847 - 199.56 (top speed of the meet) winning time. That set up semifinal pairings of Cameron against Zimmerer and Williams versus Greenberg, with Cameron and Williams holding lane choice.

"B" Field - First Round

Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' --- David Stringer - 'Prairie Fire'

(LEFT) Leading off in the 3.92 indexed "B" field was Dustin Bradford in the very familiar "American Dream" Dodge Challenger, against Bob Alberty Jr. (not shown). Both drivers left with good reaction times (.043 to .047 in Bradford's favour), but Bradford opened up a lead quickly and held it all the way with his best run of the weekend, a 4.095 - 174.28 for the win.

(RIGHT) Making his competition debut in the Reinart's "Prairie Fire" entry, second generation racer David Stringer was a little too anxious and redlighted away a 4.491 - 155.33 effort. He pushed the tree too hard with a -.046 reaction against the top qualifier in the "B" field, "Nitro" NIck Poloson (not shown), who made his best run of the event at 4.061 - 190.27 for the automatic win.

Ray Stringer - 'Blown Cent-less' --- Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk'

(LEFT) The father of David, Ray Stringer continued his hot streak in the "Blown Cent-less" Oldsmobile, taking the next winlight with a solid 4.253 - 180.51 pass. Following his "C" field victory at the season opener, that made four straight win lights for the New Mexico team.

(RIGHT) On the losing end of the pairing with Stringer was Washington state's Don Knoblauch with his Camaro-bodied "Atomic Punk". Knoblauch left first with a .025 reaction time advantage, but his good 4.299 - 172.94 wasn't quite enough to hold off Stringer's better run. The gap at the finish line was less than half a car length as the fan's were seeing some very good, close racing.

Tom Furches - 'Made in America'

Closing the round was the patriotically hued "Made In America" Corvette of Tom Furches. His opponent, Clay Cunningham isn't shown as the "Still Crazy" team was broken and unable to appear. Furches didn't take it easy though as he laid down a solid 4.148 - 173.75 on the competition bye. The win earned him a semi-final pairing with Stringer, while Bradford would face Poloson in the other matchup.

"C" Field - First Round

Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder'

(LEFT) Running on a 4.32 index, the "C" field eliminations started with Michael Neal in his Nova-bodied "Burnin' Love" against Randy Mueller (not shown). Neal left first by quite a margin, with a .038 reaction time against Mueller's much later .169 launch. But Mueller caught Neal early and ran away to a 4.565 to 5.148 victory over the Mississippi native.

(RIGHT) Originally scheduled to run against Tod Barker before two racers (Shane Blanton and Casey Geeslin) dropped out due to breakage, Jordan Ballew ended up facing Mike Buchanan (not shown) in his first round race. Ballew left first by quite a margin (.040 to .211) and opened the lead even further before the "Ballew Thunder" Camaro stopped the clocks at 4.569 - 154.53 to easily advance to the semi-finals.

Tod Barker - 'Back In Black' --- Smiley Cordero - 'Maximum Overdrive'

(LEFT) Setting low e.t. of the round was Tod Barker as he got the "Back In Black" injected nitro Corvette to run a much improved 4.418 - 154.00 for an easy first round win over Smiley Cordero.

(RIGHT) After qualifying well down the ladder in the #19 spot with a 4.66 best, Smiley Cordero saw the "Maximum Overdrive" Firebird drop off the pace to a 5.344 - 149.25 as he finished his weekend on a down note.

Alex Barker - 'Back In Black' --- Chance Biffle - 'Bad Intentions'

(LEFT) The round finished with the "Back In Black" GTO of Alex Barker taking a close win over Chance Biffle despite slowing on the top end to a 4.646 - 131.31 clocking. That was followed by a late leave, a .184 reaction time.

(RIGHT) Nearly taking advantage of Barker's slow reaction, and low trap speed was Chance Biffle in the "Bad Intentions" entry. His .058 r.t. gave him an instant lead of more than a tenth of a second, and his 4.790 - 145.21 made for a close finish. At the 660' mark, the gap was only .018, less than half a car length, in another very close decision. With Barker taking the win in the final pairing, it set up semifinals of Alex Barker versus Ballew and Tod Barker versus Meuller.

"A" Field - Semi-Final Round

Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (near lane) vs 
Keith Zimmerer - 'Penny Pincher 02' (far lane) --- Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) vs 
Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' (far lane)

(LEFT) It looks like Jeff Cameron (near lane) in the "Jake's Speed Shop" entry is out in front of opponent Keith Zimmerer (far lane) on the launch. He was, BUT it was due to a slightly early leave, as Cameron left an -.012 redlight glowing on the tree. Sadly, he wasted an excellent 3.850 - 194.38 effort, as Zimmerer, in his "Penny Pincher 02" advanced to the final round with a similarly great 3.887 - 185.34 clocking.

(RIGHT) In the other semifinal matchup, it was nitro vs alky, as New Mexico's Lyle Greenberg (far lane), in his Corvette-bodied "Cone Hunter" tried hard with a very good 4.037 - 186.49 pass, but it wasn't enough to hold off the 3.824 - 199.73 of the "200 Proof" team, with defending series champion Kirk Williams at the wheel. To add to the margin at the finish line, Williams left first by an .058 to .094 margin.

"B" Field - Semi-Final Round

Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' --- Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream'

(LEFT) It was a solid burnout for "Nitro" Nick Poloson in the "Bucket List", but that's as far as it went as he broke shortly after this photo was taken, and could only watch helplessly as his opponent (Dustin Bradford) took the win on a competition bye.

(RIGHT) Taking the automatic win after Poloson's misfortune, Dustin Bradford, in the "American Dream" Dodge Challenger, didn't take it easy as he ran hard until just before the finish line, putting a 4.241 - 154.11 up on the scoreboards as he punched his ticket into the final round.

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (near lane) vs 
Ray Stringer - 'Blown Cent-less' (far lane)

Closing out the semifinal round for the "B" field was a close battle between the nitro powered "Blown Cent-less" car of Ray Stringer (far lane), facing the blown alky "Made in America" Corvette of Colorado's Tom Furches (near lane). The result was close on the scoreboards, with Stringer taking the win with a 4.178 - 184.12 over Furches' close 4.211 - 152.91 effort. But the biggest difference was in reaction times, as Stringer won that battle with an .079 light to his opponent's later .151 leave.

"C" Field - Semi-Final Round

Alex Barker - 'Back in Black' (near lane) vs 
Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane) --- Randy Mueller - 'Crazy Randy'

(LEFT) Leaving first by a full tenth, Jordan Ballew (far lane) launched the "Ballew Thunder" Camaro into an early lead over Alex Barker's "Back In Black" GTO (near lane). The difference was an .018 r.t. for Ballew and .121 for Barker. But the gap closed quickly as Barker took the lead before the 330' mark and crossed the finish line first with a 4.423 - 159.01 to take the win over Ballew's 4.584 - 153.17 clocking. The true win margin was less than six hundredths of a second, or about a car length at the stripe.

(RIGHT) The hopes for an all-Barker family final round were dashed very quickly in the second pair of the semifinal, as Tod Barker in the injected nitro powered, Corvette-bodied "Back In Black" left the starting line before the tree was activated. Taking the automatic win was "Crazy" Randy Mueller as he took it easy with a slowing 6.292 - 73.03 pass enroute to his first final round in nearly a year, but second straight at Penwell-Knights Raceway.

"C" Field - FINAL Round

Alex Barker - 'Back in Black' (near lane) vs 
Randy Mueller - 'Crazy Randy' (far lane)

With the 4.32 index lifted for the final, it was time to see if Alex Barker (near lane) could unleash all the power lurking under his Pontiac GTO body. He laid down his best numbers of the event, running 4.341 - 162.28, and leaving first by an .096 to .164 margin to take the win. Giving it a very good effort, was Randy Meuller (far lane) as he ran a 4.597 - 146.10 that was well back at the finish line. The win was Barker's third in a row at an FCC event, following last season's finale at Ennis and this year's season opener, also at the Texas Motorplex. The win moved Barker up from third place to the top of the list at #1 after two events.

"B" Field - FINAL Round

Ray Stringer - 'Blown Cent-less' (near lane) vs 
Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' (far lane)

Following a forgettable 2022 season, failing to qualify at the season opener and parking the car for the balance of the year, Ray Stringer (near lane in the photo) started the 2023 campaign strongly, winning the "C" field at the season opener. He went back-to-back here, as he eked out a small advantage over opponent Dustin Bradford in reaction times (.057 to .078) and pounded out his quickest run of the weekend at 4.096 - 181.97 over a very competitive 4.177 - 170.39 from Bradford. With the "B" field win, Stringer moved from a tie for third in the points standings into second place.

"A" Field - FINAL Round

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) vs 
Keith Zimmerer - 'Penny Pincher 02' (far lane)

It was only fitting that the two quickest cars of the event met in the "A" field final. In the near lane it was Kirk Williams who was looking for his first win of the season after an early (first round loss) at the first event of 2023. Although he qualifed #2, the "200 Proof" team had turned the best e.t.'s of eliminations and blasted out low e.t. and top speed of the meet at 3.765 - 200.09 to take the win. Williams jumped way up in the points standings from #23 to #3 with his dominating effort at the second event of the season.

Giving it a great try in only his second Funny Car Chaos race, after moving over from Outlaw Fuel Altered racing, was Keith Zimmerer in his "Penny Pincher 02" entry. Zimmerer was low qualifer at 3.800, then kept in the 3's in the first two rounds of eliminations before laying down his best run of the evening at 3.838 - 189.87 for the runner-up finish. Worth noting were the reaction times in the final, as Zimmerer's great .020 was overshadowed by Williams' telepathic .003 effort. The margin between the two cars at the finish was little more than a car length, as Zimmerer made a big improvement on the points table, advancing from #19 to #5 and showing that his team will be a real contender for the FCC championship in 2023.

There were quite a few major changes in the points after the second of nine events on this season's calendar. Among the big gainers were Dustin Bradford, up fro #16 to #4, Jeff Cameron from #15 to #7, and Randy Mueller, all the way from #37 to #9. A number of racers dropped out of the Top Ten, as winners at the season opener, Joey Haas and Kebin Kinsley didn't come to this event, and it's unlikely that either will be appearing at more than one or two more events this year. The reality for both of those teams is the cost of campaigning what amounts to an NHRA "Big Show" nitro car without a big show budget.

The latest update as of May 8, 2023

5th annual West Texas Chaos Nationals

Saturday's final qualifying session was mainly for positioning, as there were only 26 cars trying to fit into the 24 spots available in the three fields for the first round of eliminations. As there always seems to be at least one car showing up broken at the conclusion of qualifying, it appeared that all the healthy cars would be going into round one in the late afternoon. More than a few cars were looking for improved - or, in some cases, much improved performances over their Friday efforts. For a change, we're presenting shots taken from the deep end, with some chute shots and some long distance views of cars coming down to the finish line and beyond.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Round THREE

Tod Barker - 'Back In Black' (left) vs 
Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' (right) --- Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven'



Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' --- Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy'



Tom Furches - 'Made In America' --- Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' (left) vs 
Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' (right)



Shayne Lawson - Man O' War II' (foreground) - 
Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' (background) --- Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho'



Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho'

The latest update as of May 6, 2023

5th annual West Texas Chaos Nationals

Due to a bad weather forecast for the second race on the Funny Car Chaos schedule, the Baton Rouge "Cajun Nationals" event was moved to the end of the season. That made the planned third race, the second event of the 2023 season. Taking place six weeks after the season opener at the Texas Motorplex, the 5th annual West Texas Nationals at Penwell-Knights Raceway (Odessa, TX) started on Friday evening. The pre-entry list was smaller than the Funny Car Classic, as to be expected, but all three fields were filled by the end of the evening, as 26 cars in the pits made a qualifying attempt in the first session.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Round ONE

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' --- Alex Barker - 'Back In Black'

(LEFT) Running in the first pairing of qualifying, Tom Furches in the Corvette-bodied "Made in America" shut off early to a 4.96 - 116 mph pass. Not shown was Randy Mueller who ran a decent 5.051 - 132.70 set of numbers.

(RIGHT) Quickening the pace a bit, Alex Barker in the GTO-bodied "Back In Black" entry stopped the clocks at 4.72 - 150 to take over the top spot for at least a few minutes. Running in the other lane was Don Knoblauch (not shown) who shut off early to a promising 4.68 at 115 mph.

Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder'

(LEFT) It didn't take long for the top of the ladder to change hands, as the long distance traveller from Washington state, Don Knoblacuh, in the Camaro-bodied "Atomic Punk" put up a 4.72 at only 116 mph. Being the first nitro powered car down the track it was a precursor of what was to come later in the session.

(RIGHT) After a hard burnout, Jordan Ballew in the immaculate Camaro-bodied "Ballew Thunder" ran a new low e.t. of the round at 4.547 - 153.64 to stake his claim for a spot in the A or B field. The run almost certainly wouldn't hold up too long, but it was a good start to the event for Ballew.

Michael Neal -'Burnin' Love' --- Keith Zimmerer - 'Penny Pincher 02'

(LEFT) A newcomer to the series this year, Missisippi's Michael Neal in the "Burnin' Love" Nova, took it easy on his first pass with a 5.351 - 124.86 coming up on the scoreboards.

(RIGHT) New to Funny Car Chaos racing, but a long-time Outlaw Fuel Altered racer - and winner - Keith Zimmerer in the Will Hanna-tuned "Penny Pincher 02" went out on a bye run and launched very hard. The 60' time was .991, but the good times ended there as the car went into a wheelstand, and headed for the guardrail as Zimmerer got out of the throttle quickly, and idled down the track to a 6-second clocking.

Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' --- Casey Geeslin - 'Bucket List'

(LEFT) Coming off a semi-successful season opener at the Motorplex, New Mexico's Lyle Greenberg came close to breaking into the 3-second zone with a great 4.017 - 188.68 to grab the top spot in the field from Jordan Ballew. With some very tough competitors to follow him, it was almost certain that Greenberg's number wouldn't hold the top spot for the entire session.

(RIGHT) After a promising debut at the season opener, Casey Geeslin brought the Camaro-bodied "Gambler" out and made a decent pass, at 4.738 - 147.49. Not shown in the photo is Bob Alberty Jr. in his beautiful "Thunderin' Okie" who trainlengthed Geeslin with a great 4.204 - 176.06 to grab the #2 spot on the ladder.

Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' (far lane) vs 
Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' (near lane) --- Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company'

(LEFT) Falling well behind out of the gate, "Nitro" Nick Poloson put the whip to the "Bucket List" Dodge Avenger, and clocked in at 4.263 - 178.01. Mostly obscured in the near lane, Dustin Bradford in the stretched nose "American Dream" Dodge Challenger, got to the finish line first with a very good 4.197 - 168.86. With 16 cars having run, Bradford was sitting second overall, and solidly in the "A" field.

(RIGHT) Running a Cheverolet Lumina body, Shane "Smokey" Blanton opened his weekend with an early shutoff 4.735 - 130.21 pass to get a number on the board. With just enough cars to fill the three fields, he was certain to be competing in eliminations on Saturday.

Chance Biffle - 'Bad Intentions' --- Ray Stringer - 'Blown Cent-less'

Laying down a solid burnout, Oklahoman Chance Biffle (LEFT), backed up his "Bad Intentions" entry, then ran a decent 4.703 - 151.72 to grab a provisional spot in the "B" field. In the far lane (RIGHT), and partly obscured by Biffle's parachutes, Ray Stringer hoped to win back-to-back events with the blown fuel Big-Block Chevy powered "Blown Cent-less" entry. He was on and off the throttle and clocked a 4.47 - 166 mph effort.

Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho' --- Smiley Cordero - 'Maximum Overdrive'

Another fuel vs alcohol match ensued, with Chuck Loftin in the Firebird-bodied "Nitro Psycho" (LEFT), facing the Camaro-bodied "Maximum Overdrive" of Smiley Cordero (RIGHT). While the scoreboards favoured Loftin's 4.082 - 176.75, good for #2 on the ladder, Cordero clocked in at 4.669 - 161.35 to grab a spot near the top of the "B" field.

Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' --- Tod Barker - 'Back In Black'

Running very well since former three-time FCC champion Ken Singleton began tuning for him, Shayne Lawson (LEFT), took over the top spot on the ladder, breaking the 3-second barrier with a 3.994 - 170.00 pass in his all-new "Man O' War II". Not having much success was Tod Barker in the injected nitro "Back In Black" Corvette (RIGHT), who struggled to an 8-second timeslip with dropped cylinders hindering his progress.

Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' --- Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop'

The final pair of the session, matched a nitro burner, Keith Jackson in the Camaro-bodied "High Heaven" (LEFT), taking on the blown alky "Jake's Speed Shop" entry of Jeff Cameron (RIGHT). Saving the best for last, Cameron unloaded the low e.t. of the round, at 3.985 - 174.28 to take over the top spot. Jackson, unfortunately, lit the tires up immediately and coasted through at 8.33 - 61.68 to sit near the bottom of the list.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Round TWO

The second session started in full darkness, with the track lights (barely) illuminating the action, and the nitro flames blazing from the fuel burners. All 26 cars in the pits made an attempt in the first round of qualifying, but only 25 drivers received a timeslip as Mike "Hombre" Buchanan broke on the starting line. With the cooler evening air, and one run under their belts, the drivers were looking for better results in this second go-round.

David Stringer - 'Prairie Fire' --- Keith Zimmerer - 'Penny Pincher 02' (near lane) vs 
Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane)

(LEFT) Leading the way with another solo pass was second-generation racer David Stringer in the Wayne Reinart-owned and tuned "Prairie Fire" entry. With this event being his competition debut, the FCC race director deemed it prudent for Stringer to make single runs in qualifying. He picked up more than half a second from his first pass with a very respectable 4.84 - 142.95 showing up on the scoreboards. It placed him near the top of the "C" field, albeit with quite a few strong runners behind him in the lanes.

(RIGHT) Looking to rebound in a big way after his first session debacle, Keith Zimmerer (near lane) shot right to the top of the field with a brilliant 3.800 - 195.31 to show everyone that he was ready to race. In the far lane, Jordan Ballew struggled to a 5.20 at 95 mph in his "Ballew Thunder" Camaro.

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) vs 
Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (far lane) --- Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' (near lane) vs 
Randy Mueller - 'Crazy Randy' (far lane)

(LEFT) Following a very sub-par run for the "200 Proof" entry, Kirk Williams (near lane) launched hard and nearly matched Zimmerer's effort, lighting up the scoreboards with a great 3.832 at a new top speed of the meet 197.11 mph. Left sitting at the starting line, again, was Mike Buchanan, as the Vega-bodied "Hombre" failed to move when the ambers flashed.

(RIGHT) Launching with the first nitro flames of the evening, Washington state's Don Knoblauch (near lane), being tuned by NHRA "Big Show" racer Jeff Diehl, cut nearly 5-tenths off his opening pass, with a somewhat early shutoff 4.194 at only 151.98 that moved him into the "A' field. In the far lane, "Crazy" Randy Mueller failed to leave the starting line as the right lane claimed it's second consecutive victim.

Ray Stringer - 'Blown Cent-less' (near lane) vs 
Smiley Cordero - 'Maximum Overdrive' (far lane) --- Tom Furches - 'Made in America'

(LEFT) Leaving well in front of his opponent, Smiley Cordero, in the far lane, Ray Stringer (near lane) picked up two tenths from his first pass, stopping the clocks at 4.280 - 173.54 to move from the bottom of the "B" field to the middle of that group. In the far lane, the "Maximum Overdrive" gamely tried to keep up the pace before giving up to a 7.63 - 85.16 pass to leave Cordero near the bottom of the "B" field.

(RIGHT) Starting with a hard burnout, Tom Furches rebounded strongly from an early shutoff pass to post a strong 4.161 - 173.75 to grab a spot in the "A" field. Lined up alongside him, in the far lane, was Alex Barker, who left before the tree was activated and received no time or speed recorded.

Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love' (near lane) vs 
Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' (far lane) --- Shayne Lawson 'Man O' War II'

(LEFT) With a 5.351 to his credit in the first session, Michael Neal (near lane) wanted to push the Chevy Nova to numbers well into the 4's but due to a bad video feed from the event, we only know that he didn't run better than on his first attempt. Running in the far lane, Dustin Bradford likewise failed to better his first session time, but his 4.197 from that run had him in the #8 spot, at the bottom of the "A" field. However, there were still more than few cars remaining to run that could push him down into the "B" field.

(RIGHT) Showing that his first session effort of 3.994 - 170.00 wasn't a "one-off", Shayne Lawson backed it up very well with an almost identical e.t of 3.996, at an even better 175.78 mph. Sitting solidly in the middle of the "A" field in the #4 spot, the "Man O' War II" was looking good. Not shown in the photo was Casey Geeslin (far lane) who struggled down track to a 6-second pass with a lot of smoke out of the left bank. Thankfully the cleanup was minimal, and the action was able to continue quickly.

Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho' (near lane) vs 
Chance Biffle - 'Bad Intentions' (far lane) --- Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' (near lane) vs 
Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' (far lane)

(LEFT) Launching nearly together were Chuck Loftin (near lane) and Chance Biffle (far lane). Neither driver improved over their first passes, with nothing recorded on the video for Biffle, leaving him sitting in the #16 spot, at the bottom of the "B" field. The "Nitro Psycho" car ran a troubled 5-flat at less than 100 mph, and stayed in the #6 spot, but still in the "A" field.

(RIGHT) After breaking the blower belt on the launch in the first round, Clay Cunningham (near lane) was looking for a much better result here and was running well before having to shut down early to a 4.761 - 109.52 pass. That left him in the #20 spot. Despite picking up two seconds over his first run, Keith Jackson, in the mostly hidden "High Heaven" (far lane) still sat at the very bottom of the ladder with a 6.223 - 109.30 clocking, just outside the show in the #25 spot.

Steve Griboski - 'Mile-High Express' (near lane) vs 
Tod Barker - 'Back In Black' (far lane) --- Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (near lane) vs 
Randy Mueller - 'Crazy Randy' (far lane)

(LEFT) With lots of nitro in the tank, and only a 4.82 e.t. to show for his first pass, Colorado's Steve Griboski wanted to show what his early Mustang-bodied "Mike-High Express" (near lane) could really do. He cranked out a strong 4.114 - 184.80 to fight his way into the #7 spot in the "A" field. Going in the opposite direction was the injected nitro entry of Tod Barker (far lane) as he failed to better his earlier 6.17 with an even slower 6.65 to sit at the bottom of the "C" field in the #24 position.

(RIGHT) Leaving well in front of his opponent, Jeff Cameron (near lane) wasn't able to back up his opening 3.985 e.t. as he clicked it early to a 4.34 - 149.45, but still sat on the #3 rung on the ladder. In the far lane, Randy Mueller was stuck in the 5's, with a 5.52 - 138.78 on this run being nearly half a second slower than his earlier 5.051, leaving the "Crazy Randy" car stuck in the #22 position.

Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' --- Ray Kelly (near lane) vs Andy Mears (far lane)- 
'Game Xchange Jet Dragsters'

(LEFT) Making the last run of the evening, and trying to improve on his earlier 4.26 pass, "Nitro" Nick Poloson, in the "Bucket List" Dodge, tried hard but lost traction early and pedaled to a 5.64 clocking to end the second session in the #12 spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) The "Game Xchange" jet dragsters of Ray Kelly (near lane) and Andy Mears (far lane) put on a great show of pyrotechnics to close out the first day of the West Texas Nationals. While Mears had trouble on his pass, Kelly was able to stop the timers with an excellent 4.39 - 182 pass.

The latest update as of April 20, 2023

It's taken quite a while, but we've finally posted more than the first two qualifying sessions at the season opening FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic that took place at the Texas Motorplex in late March. There's still lots of work to do, filling in captions and details on the event, but at least the first batch of photos (there's more in the pipeline) is posted from all rounds of qualifying and eliminations. That includes the Outlaw Fuel Altereds that ran in conjunction with the Funny Car Chaos show.

Check out what we've got on the race in the Feature section of the website.

The latest update as of April 13, 2023

NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

The fourth race of the 2023 Camping World Drag Racing Series gets underway tomorrow morning at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's the third, and final leg of the "Southwestern Swing", following the Winternationals and Arizona Nationals. Then the next five events take place in the eastern half of the country before the tour heads west again for the "old" Western Swing. It's been an interesting balancing act for NHRA this season, trying to limit the long tows between events and make it as financially fair as possible for races in the various regions of North America.

The Las Vegas race will also be the first of two back-to-back four-wide events, with Las Vegas and Charlotte (Z-Max) separated by a week, before the balance of the 21-race schedule resumes with the first national event at Route 66 Raceway since 2019. The battles in the PRO categories are still developing, but it's clear that there could be some new champions at the end of the year and some rising stars in all of the professional classes. And Top Alcohol Dragster competition is going to be tougher than ever with at least a dozen drivers challenging for a spot in the Top Ten, let alone the national championship.

On the Top Alcohol Funny Car side it's not starting out to be a banner year for participation, with just nine cars at the Gatornationals, 11 at the Winternationals, and 13 at this week's Four-Wide Nationals. Yes, the numbers are growing but look rather weak compared to the dragsters, where full, and overflowing, fields have appeared. 21 entries at the Gators, 19 at the Winters, and 21 again at this week's race. We've yet to see an injected nitro Funny Car appear this season, other than Julie Nataas at the Funny Car Chaos Classic, but as the tour moves across the country, it's expected that the flopper brigade will strengthen. One thing that isn't lacking from their races is some very quick and fast racing with at least half a dozen serious contenders - already - for this season's championship.

More to come on the Four-Wides tomorrow, as qualifying starts in the late morning under what has been forecast as great racing weather. Sunny skies, temps in the mid 70's (F), with a high of just over 80 on Sunday afternoon.

The latest update as of April 2, 2023

Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

There's been a major update to yesterday's story about Bob Wilson's amazing qualifying effort at the Lucas Oil Winternationals. Late yesterday afternoon, the NHRA released an official statement which follows.

Statement of Action Against Participant

NHRA has disqualified Robert (Bob) Wilson from the Lucas Oil Winternationals for the following reasons: (1) His re-licensing application has been deemed invalid due to the signatures of deceased racers being used as witnesses to his required runs. (2) To qualify at an event, the participant must be physically present at the event. (3) The car being used in competition must also be physically present at the event.

Due to these violations of NHRA policy and regulations, his qualifying times have been invalidated, and he has been removed from the qualifying list for the event. At this time no further action will be taken against the participant.

And sadly, that's where the story ends... for now at least. Tune in again around this time next year to see if the comeback story actually comes back again.

The latest update as of April 1, 2023

Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

Northern Thunder 2001 Winternationals

The biggest news out of the In-N-Out Burger dragstrip at Pomona today is the surprising, shocking, surreal #8 qualifying performance of Sooke, BC's Bob Wilson, (aka: Bobby Thunder) in his long dormant "Northern Thunder" Top Alcohol Dragster. His last appearance in the car was at the 2001 (Australian) Winternationals, where he qualified in the #8 position (the bump spot in the 8-car field). That event sadly concluded for his team when it dropped a valve on the burnout in the first round of eliminations, due to a persistent valvetrain fault.

After parking the car for over two decades, Wilson decided to bring it out of mothballs in time for this weekend's NHRA Winternationals. "The timing was finally right after 22 years on the sidelines for me to get back in the car and see what it could really do with the right parts and tuneup", Bob related in a brief interview over the phone from his pit area at the L.A. County Fairgrounds. "We're hoping we can run even better than yesterday's 5.313 - 270.00 effort and at least stay in the top half of the field", he continued, before concluding with the following statement.

"Today, April 1st, will go down in drag racing history as the perfect day to resurrect an iconic race car and prove that it can run with the top dogs in the class, even with mostly 20 to 25-year old equipment. Almost everything on the car is fresh, with less than six runs on all the running gear, and the Hadman chassis, PSI blower, Davenport fuel system and 44-amp mag are still nearly state of the art". With long-time crew chief Tom Mohan tuning the beast, and Wilson showing no rust after his very long layoff, chances are good that they will make an impact in at least the first round of eliminations this afternoon.

Stay tuned to this page for further updates on this saga, as it may - or may not - continue into tomorrow's (April 2nd) final rounds of eliminations.

The latest update as of March 31, 2023

Funny Car Chaos Classic

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Round ONE

From a list of pre-entries that peaked at 54, there were 50 (mostly) ready to run cars in the pits at the Texas Motorplex when qualifying started on Friday afternoon for the 3rd annual Funny Car Chaos Classic. Things started a little slowly, with some breakage and three single runs before the action heated up when the first pair of nitro burners amped up the volume. But it took an NHRA Top Alcohol car, the 2022 FCC champion, Kirk Williams to break the performance ice with the first 3-second run of the weekend, a 3.674 - 209.17. That number only held for a few minutes, until another NHRA top ten runner, Kyle Smith, took over the top spot with a great 3.637 - 208.08 that held up as number one at the conclusion of the session.

Our photo coverage starts with "BIG" Bob Snyder's pics, but we'll be posting photos from our Colorado correspondent, Dale Fackler to round out the pictorial part of the Funny Car Chaos Classic story. It's going to take a while to get it all posted, especially the words to go with the pics, but stay tuned for regular updates over the next few days.

Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder'

Robin Rish - 'Blown Retirement' --- Joey Haas - 'Nimrod'

Julie Nataas - 'Randy Meyer Racing' --- Danny Smith - 'Snafu'

Jstin Herbst - 'The Executioner' --- Alex Barker - 'Back In Black'

Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' --- Smiley Cordero - 'Maximum Overdrive'

Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company' --- Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company'

Alex Barker - 'Back in Black' --- Keith Zimmerer - 'Penny Pincher'

Ray Stringer - 'Blown Cent-Less' --- Casey Geeslin - 'The Gambler'

Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love' --- John Hale - 'Red Baron'

Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' --- Tony Arcuri - 'Firefighter'

Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' --- Christine Chambless - 'Chambless Roofing'

Michael Tobacco - 'Pandemic' --- Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List'

Kebin Kinsley - 'War Wagon' --- Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho'

Chance Biffle - 'Bad Intentions --- Ronny Young - 'Blue Max'

Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' --- Tom Furches - Made In America'

Dusty Hunt - 'Nitro Pony' --- Matt Bremher - 'Detroit Tiger'

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Round TWO

Diesel Dragster --- Justin Herbst - 'The Executioner' (near 
lane) vs Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' (far lane)

Doug Schneider - 'Milliken Monster' (near 
lane) vs Ray Stringer - 'Blown Cent-Less' (far lane) --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus'

Smiley Cordero - 'Maximum Overdrive' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (near lane) 
vs Alex Barker - 'Back In Black' (far lane)

Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (near 
lane) vs Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (far lane) --- Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' (near lane) 
vs Kyle Smith - 'PC Disposal' (far lane)

Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' (near lane) 
vs Chuck Loftin - 'Nitro Psycho' (far lane) --- Joey Haas - 'Nimrod' (near lane) vs 
Kebin Kinsley - 'War Wagon' (far lane)

Keith Zimmerer - 'Penny Pincher 2' (near 
lane) vs Anthony Whitfield - 'Mighty Mouse' (far lane) --- Julie Nataas - 'Randy Meyer Racing' (near lane) 
vs Doug Schneider - 'Milliken Monster' (far lane)

(LEFT Two "reformed" Fuel Altered racers faced off with Keith Zimmerer in his "Penny Pincher 02"

Ronny Young - 'Blue Max' (near lane) vs 
Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (far lane) --- Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company' (near lane) 
vs Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' (far lane)

Randy Muller - 'Crazy Randy' (near lane) 
vs Kris Battey - 'Batmobile' (far lane) --- Chrstine Chambless - 'Chambless Roofing'

Tony Arcuri - 'Firefighter' (near lane) 
vs John Hale - 'Red Baron' (far lane) --- Tod Barker - 'Back In Black'

Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' --- Robin Rish - 'Blown Retirement' (near lane) 
vs Chance Biffle - 'Bad Intentions' (far lane)

Casey Geeslin - 'The Gambler' --- Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love'

Jonathan Johnson - 'Parts Slinger' --- Tom Furches - 'Made In America'

Megan Meyer - A/FD testing --- Game X-Change Jet Dragsters

The latest update as of March 29, 2023

Funny Car Chaos Classic

Lots of pictures from the Texas Motorplex

We've received absolutely heaps of pictures from both photographers that covered the FCC Classic last weekend at the Texas Motorplex. That's the good news. On the flip side though, the bad news is that we simply don't have time to get them posted very quickly or fill in the captions. And with a three day road trip coming up from Sunday to Tuesday, it's going to be at least a week before we can begin to get the job completed. Bear with us and stay tuned for updates as they happen.

The latest update as of March 27, 2023

Funny Car Chaos Classic

3rd annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic is in the books!

The event went off with no interruptions by the weather and when the smoke cleared, the spectators had seen some great Funny Car racing. Lots of three second runs and some very quick and fast runs by the hard runners in the "A" and "B" fields. We had two photographers (Bob Snyder and Dale Fackler) on hand, and over the next few days we'll be posting some great shots from testing, qualifying, and eliminations. But for now, we've got the final round photos to whet your appetite for more... much more. Stay tuned for that starting tomorrow.


Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (near 
lane) vs Alex Barker - 'Back In Black' (far lane)

The "D" field was fairly tightly knit, from top qualifier Tony Arcuri, in at 4.19, down to the bump spot holder, Shane 'Smoky' Blanton with a 4.612 e.t. The field would have been tighter if two cars hadn't shown up broken, Chris Schneider and Danny Smith, who both ran in the low 4.20's. With the index set at 3.99 (two tenths below the #1 qualifier's e.t.), there wasn't much chance of anyone breaking out, but the final round winner, Alex Barker, (far lane) in the GTO bodied "Back In Black", teased with the quickest e.t. of eliminations at 4.121 - 170.38 in the semifinal.

His final round opponent, Jade Cook, (near lane), in the "Nemesis" Dodge stayed in the 4.20's in qualifying and the first two rounds of eliminations before smoking the tires on the launch in the final. Barker ran into problems a little further down track, but was able to pedal quicker and get to the finish first with a 5.034 - 166.67, that easily covered Cook's later 5.726 - 153.01 effort.


Ray Stringer - 'Blown Centless' 
(near lane) vs Anthony Whitfield - 'Mighty Mouse' (far lane)

A rather unique pairing came to the line in the final round, with Ray Stringer (near lane) in the "Blown Cent-Less" Oldsmobile facing the "Mighty Mouse" entry of series newcomer Anthony Whitfield in the money round. Both racers were running Chevy power, both burning nitro, but Whitfield was running a small-block, while Stringer had a big-block between the frame rails. Stringer had lane choice with a very good 4.063 in the semifinal, while Whitfield took an easy 5-second win over his redlighting opponent, Smiley Cordero.

There wasn't much doubt who was going to turn on the winlight from the 60' mark to the finish line, as Stringer easily pulled away from Whitfield, stopping the clocks with a 4.270 - 164.22 over the trailing 4.685 - 160.81 of the Mighty Mouse. The victory was especially gratifying for Stringer as it was his first at the Funny Car Chaos Classic and proved that Chevy power on nitro is a viable combination in the 21st century.


Jimmy Jones - 'Texas Tremor' 
(near lane) vs John Broussard - 'Purple Haze' (far lane)

The original 16 entries in the Outlaw Fuel Altered class were trimmed down to 12 after the two qualifying rounds. Then the "quick 12" paired up for round one of eliminations in the "Chicago Style" format. That dictates that the two quickest winning cars from the round race for the event title. The quickest car of that round didn't win his pairing, as Raymond Dawson broke out of the 3.85 (or was it 3.80?) index with a 3.798 - 189.75 pass. The beneficiary of his faux pas was Scott Pareso (switching over from FCC to the Outlaw Fuel Altered group), who took a winlight with a solid 3.995 - 176.04 to punch his ticket to the final. Joining him was the quickest winning driver of the round, Jimmy Jones, who tickled the index with a 3.861 - 161.23 (note the low speed/early shutoff).

Both racers left together with great lights (.030 to .034), but Jimmy Jones, (near lane) pushed the "Texas Tremor" to a close win over opponent John Broussard (far lane), in his "Purple Haze" entry. The margin at the finish line was less than two hundredths, as Jones' 4.003 - 186.77 was just enough to hold off Broussard's very good 4.026 - 173.92 pass. It was a great finish to the Outlaw Fuel Altered show.


Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' 
(near lane) vs Joey Haas - 'Nimrod' (far lane)

With a brand new car and new name ("Man O' War II"), Oklahoma's Shayne Lawson (near lane), reeled off two consecutive low 3.70's to reach the final against the blown fuel "Nimrod" of Joey Haas. Haas had rocked the test 'n tune session on Thursday with a 3.49, shutting off early, and looked to be set to give the "A" field some serious trouble. However, his best qualifying run, 3.683, placed him in the "B" field before he stepped up with a 3.585 in the first round. He lucked his way into the final before dropping a bomb on everyone at the 'Plex, blasting out a 3.446 - 247.04 to bring the house down and set low e.t. and top speed (by a bunch), for the win. Lawson's good try of 3.794 - 189.83 came up well short of matching Haas's run.


Kyle Smith - 'PC Disposal

In the final race of the event, the three-time unlucky FCC finalist, Kebin Kinsley, (far lane), driving the "War Wagon" broke through with his quickest and fastest run of the weekend, a 3.446 - 231.65 to turn on the winlight. He came into the final holding lane choice over the NHRA Top Alcohol racer, Kyle Smith, who gave it a very good effort, leaving first by .034, and running another consistent 3.60-range pass, this time a 3.613 - 208.67 to come up a few car lengths short at the finish line. Despite the horsepower disparity, with Kinsley running a "big show" engine (twin mags, big fuel pump), Smith's high rpm blown alky car was a more than worthy opponent for the blown fuel monster that Kinsley was piloting.

The latest update as of March 24, 2023

Funny Car Chaos Classic

3rd annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic is underway!

Yesterday saw the start of the 2023 Funny Car Chaos season with a successful and well-attended test session at the Texas Motorplex. Leading the way was Joey Haas in the "Nimrod" AA/FC with an off-the-trailer 3.492 - 202.61. The e.t. was the fourth quickest ever in FCC history, but the speed of barely 200 mph indicated an early shutoff and MUCH more potential in the Haas team's tuneup. We can hardly wait to see what they can do later today in the first qualifying sessions.

There were some new faces, lots of new paint schemes, and a few notable powerplant changes. Going the centrifugal supercharger route was the "Nemesis" team, with the 2021 Rookie of The Year, Jade Cook, driving. She was running an injected nitrous-aided combination for the previous two seasons, but now she's stepping up with the boosted setup. Sporting a new look and car name was Chuck Loftin, who's gone to the "Nitro Psycho" moniker, instead of the very familiar Billy Meyer tribute-themed "Motivation". There was also a new wrap on Wayne Hofmann's car, but the same "China Syndrome" name on the side.

The latest update as of March 19, 2023

A few odds and ends on an "off" weekend

There wasn't a lot of detail attached to the "Action Against participant" statement on NHRA's nhraracer.com website, but the end result was that the Amalie Oil Gatornationals Top Fuel Champion, Mike Salinas was fined 20 points for apparently being underweight at some point during eliminations. Incorrect information was conveyed by NHRA to the "Scrappers Racing" team and that's what led to the penalty. The NHRA rulebook is quite clear that "the race team is always responsible for the weight of the car", henceforth the penalty, which is appealable, was levied.

There's a little more detail on the Competition Plus website, but no comments from Salinas have been made. We're not even sure if we'll ever hear/read about just when the weight infraction occured, but the mistake was made by NHRA and the team innocently took the incorrect information as correct.

The 20 point deduction effectively took away one round win from the event winner - and Salinas is still the official race winner - but he's now second in the points standings, four points behind runnerup Steve Torrence. It will be interesting to see if there is an appeal but based on what happened - or more exactly, what didn't happen when Tony Schumacher was fined $20,000 and 50 points after the Brainerd event last summer. That was a clearcut case of a team hurrying to make it to the next round of racing and they did intentionally leave some safety systems inactive. In retrospect, they would have been further ahead to have stayed in the pits. And, as far as we know, the team did not appeal the penalties.

3rd annual Funny Car Chaos Classic

With the coming week's weather forecast for the Dallas area being better - but far from perfect - we're keeping our fingers crossed that the event will finish on the rescheduled weekend. There are thunderstorms forecast for Thursday and showers for Friday, both days amounting to less than a quarter inch of rain, but with much warmer temperatures. The chance of precipitation on Saturday is nil, and Sunday - if an extra day is required to complete the race - has a very low probability of rain.

The racer numbers have held steady after just two competitors dropped off the Funny Car pre-entry list and four of the Fuel Altereds pulled out. That still leaves 66 serious race cars, plus numerous supporting classes to provide a performance extravaganza at the world's biggest Funny Car race. We've got at least one photographer on his way there and a second one might just make the trek down from Colorado. We'll have to wait and see on that point, but we will have photos, starting on Saturday.

Happening at the same time as the FCC race, the second event on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule, and it leads off a min-Western Swing. Following the NHRA Arizona Nationals will be the Lucas Oil Winternationals at the In 'n Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip, then after a one-week break, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's going to be a four weeks for NHRA competitors and after the Las Vegas national event, a Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Western Region event will be happening to make it four races in five weeks. The drag racing season is kicking it up a gear as the season gets going in a big way.

And we'll be covering the action as much as we can, with Bob Snyder and Dale Fackler on the road, and Bob Wilson at Northern Thunder headquarters working at the keyboard and watching all the action remotely. Remember: stay tuned to the "What's New" page for all the latest news from the world of drag racing.

The latest update as of March 15, 2023

Where have all the race tracks gone?

With the 38th annual - and final - NHRA Arizona Nationals happening next weekend at Phoenix, that will mark four national event tracks that have ceased to exist as dragstrips in the past six years. Stated another way, it's three tracks gone in three years. At this point, there's no new facilities on the immediate or long-term horizon, and several more tracks are in jeopardy of joining the Drag Strips That No Longer Exist list. In almost every case, it's business decisions that value the land much more for purposes other than motorsports. Englishtown still has a motorsports facility that caters to everything other than drag racing. In that case it was a noise abatement issue that the raceway tried to overcome but finally gave in to the inevitable.

Here's the list of NHRA national event tracks that have closed down in the past six years:

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Chandler, AZ) - closing in 2023
Houston Raceway Park (Baytown, TX) - closed in 2022
Atlanta Dragway (Commerce, GA) - closed in 2021
Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (Englishtown, NJ) - closed the dragstrip in 2017

Two NHRA national events that are currently running have faced the reality that one or even two major events a year are not enough to offset the cost of keeping the gates open. For three years (2020 - 2022) Route 66 Raceway was off the national event schedule, but has returned to the Camping World Series this year. Admittedly, their 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, but the track remained closed in 2021 and only reopened with a Lucas Oil series event last year. Virgina Motorsports Park has also dropped off the NHRA calendar, possibly permanently after hosting last year's Virgina Nationals. The track only ran the event three times, including 2022, and has decided the cost/benefit analysis doesn't work in their favour any longer.

There was a report on Competition Plus yesterday about how the track manager at No Problem Raceway (Belle Rose, LA) is working towards redeveloping the track into a national event worthy facility in the near future. With the closing of Houston Raceway Park and no national event caliber tracks in Louisiana, there is certainly room for No Problem Raceway to join the "fraternity" of NHRA national tracks.

Looking at how track closings are happening to all forms of motorsports leads me to a local story. Last September, after 69 years in continuous operation, Westshore Motorsports Park, formerly known as Western Speedway, (Langford, BC) closed down. It was a 4/10-ths of a mile banked oval that hosted literally thousands of races and exhibitions over nearly eight decades of operation before closing. The land is already cleared and will be used for a business park and residential housing, while the track operaters search for land suitable for a new facility.

And as that suitable land bank is always shrinking, the new location will most likely be much more remote than the now closed speedway. When it opened in 1954, Langford seemed far away from the much larger city of Victoria, and wasn't a nuisance to the small number of residents near the track. When we moved to Langford in 2016 we were surprised to hear how close we lived to the track when the cars fired up on our first weekend in our new home. The sound of the cars wasn't a bother but in the three years we lived close to it, a residential building boom drew closer and closer to the speedway. Eventually, the value of the land outweighed it's use for motorsports and that led to the closure of the track.

NHRA Top Alcohol points standings as of March 13

It's obviously very early in the 2023 season, with just one of the 14 national events on the Top Alcohol schedule completed, and only three of 24 regional races run. In other words, it's going to be a couple of months before the points standings turn into the championship chase. So far, there have been three events in the eastern half of the country, and just one in the west. THat's reflected by the fact that just two of the Top Ten dragsters and Funny Cars are from the west. That imbalance will swing slightly in the other direction over the next month as the next three events on the schedule, two national and one regional will be run at Pomona and Las Vegas. Except for the events in the final month of the season, participation by eastern racers at Pomona and Vegas doesn't usually happen. After the Las Vegas regional in April, we'll have a more balanced look at who the strongest runners and championship contenders will be this year.

NHRA TAD Points - March 13, 2023

With back-to-back wins at the Gainesville regional and national events, Julie Nataas has jumped into a solid lead in the standings, but is being closely chased by the not-quite-a-rookie phenom from Florida, Cody Krohn who lost to her in the final round of both Gainesville races. Not far behind Krohn is the 2021 runnerup for the championsip, Jackie Fricke who has a runnerup at one regional race and two semifinal finishes to her credit so far.

On the blown alky side of the class, the only two seriously competitive blown cars are last year's NHRA champion, Joey Severance, who took his fifth title in a great comeback season. Sitting four spots above him in the standings is perennial second place finisher (five times!), Canada's Shawn Cowie, who dominated and won the Phoenix race last month.

NHRA TAFC Points - March 13, 2023

In Funny Car, there hasn't been an appearance yet by one of the new A/Fuel (injected nitro) Funny Cars, despite several being built and nearly (?) ready to compete. Other than last year's one-off attempt at a Funny Car Chaos event by the Randy Meyer team, with Julie Nataas driving, and former dragster pilot Mick "The Real Deal" Steele has his new Mustang-bodied A/FC almost ready to go, no one has appeared in one so far this season.

Last season's #5 finisher in TA/FC, Matt Gill is off to a strong start, sweeping both Gainesville events to take a solid lead in the standings. Not far behind, but with one more race run, is Bob McCosh, who was runnerup at the two regional events before taking a tough first round loss at the Gatornationals. Winners of the first two regional events, Kyle Smith (Belle Rose), and Ray Martin (Phoenix), are in the Top Ten but neither racer has shown an inclination (or budget) to run a full schedule and compete for a championship.

Top Alcohol World Champions of the past five seasons, Doug Gordon (2020 & 2022), and Sean Bellemeur (2018, 2019 & 2021), have only competed once so far this year, with Gordon taking a runnerup at Phoenix to sit #8 in the standings, while Bellemeur was a suprising first round loser at the Gatornationals and is sitting #17 - last - in the standings. Those positions will certainly change very soon for both racers as they will be battling to keep the championship on the west coast for a sixth consecutive season.

Funny Car Chaos

With an ambitious nine race schedule this year, and an expanded four race Nitro Chaos companion series, the FCC promoters, Chris & Tera Graves will be busier than ever. Hoping to start the season with a barn burner event at the Texas Motorplex, the FCC team, in collaboration with the Motorplex folks, made the very difficult decision to postpone the season opener one week to avoid the dismal weather forecast this week. The racers understood the situation and to date, just one Funny Car entrant has dropped off the list, along with four of the Outlaw Fuel Altered competitors. That still leaves 54 funny cars and 16 fuel altereds, in addition to a host of support series to entertain the Texas fans next weekend.

With pre-entries now open for the first four races on their schedule, a total of 64 racers have signed up for at least one event. At this rate, the total of 83 racers that competed at least once last season will be topped well before the season finale on Labor Day weekend. And the all-time series record of 87 competitors in 2021 could well be in jeopardy. The Funny Car Chaos series has proven that it's not a flash in the pan operation, as it continues to grow in stature year by year. Real proof of it's strength is the number of former NHRA stalwarts that are competing on a part or more likely, full-time basis in the FCC. The reason is simple: the purses are better, the entry costs lower, the race distance shorter - hence less parts damage, and the fun factor is higher. It's a simple business model that works for the series organizers, the track promoters, the racers, and most important of all in the long run: the drag racing fans.

The latest update as of March 13, 2023

Funny Car Chaos Classic Funny Car Chaos Classic postponed


Here is the official word on the postponment of the event:

We are SO ready to get racing season underway! We know so many of you have thrashed to prepare for the big one! Decisions like this are never easy to make or taken lightly. Many factors have been evaluated and together the Texas Motorplex and Funny Car Chaos agree the best decision for all involved is to postpone the 3rd Annual Funny Car Chaos Classic by one week, now to be hosted Thursday through Saturday, March 23rd-25th.

Unfavorable, unsafe and unpleasant weather is forecasted and offer an extremely low possibility of completing this event safely. A complete wash out is called for on Thursday and temps in the low to mid-50s during minimal peak hours Friday and Saturday leave insufficient time to come close to completion. These conditions do not condone safe, timely, entertaining and competitive drag racing for the racers or spectators. Preliminary forecasts for March 23-25 are promising and indicate low 70s and sunny skies with a high chance of CHAOS in North Texas.

We wanted to make this decision in a timely manner to allow everyone the most time possible to adjust their plans. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause in your travel, but want to put our best foot forward in bringing you a safe, exciting, competitive and enjoyable weekend you, the racers and fans, deserve! The 3rd Annual Funny Car Chaos Classic will be fantastic and we hope to see you there!

The latest update as of March 12, 2023

Funny Car Chaos Classic

3rd annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic

We were very surprised to hear that the Funny Car Chaos season opener at the Texas Motorplex has been postponed one week from March 16 - 18 to March 23 - 24, due to some unseasonably cool and wet weather scheduled for the coming weekend. The news was provided directly to our ace photog BIG Bob Snyder from the FCC Owner/Race Director Chris Graves earlier today. It's a wise decision for the vast majority of the competitors and spectators to prevent them from wasting a weekend that would almost certainly de wiped out by the weather.

The decision hasn't been posted on the Funny Car Chaos website yet, or on any of the other "mainstream" drag racing websites, but the information we received has to be considered as factual. More details will be posted as soon as they are available. The one slight downside to this situation, for this website, is that Mr. Snyder won't be able to attend the final NHRA Arizona Nationals that will be held on the same weekend as the rescheduled FCC Classic. One possible upside to that development might be - and a big might at that - that he might be able to attend the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals on the following weekend. Fingers crossed on that one though.

Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals

The 52nd annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals

In front of a sellout crowd, for the second day in a row, the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals were completed in fine fashion. The first round of eliminations, held earlier than usual at 10:00 am saw some incredibly quick and fast performances by the fuel cars, and Pro Mod racers. Two new faces graced the winners circle celebrations. They were Gaige Herrera in Pro Stock Motorcycle, in just his seventh national event, and Colby Fuller in Super Street.

Almost joining them was young (19-yr old) Cody Krohn who dominated the Top Alcohol Dragster field right up until the final round, where he fell to Julie Nataas in a Randy Meyer car. Krohn made one appearance in 2022, failing to qualify for a regional event, but started this year strong, qualifying at his first regional race, then losing in the final to Nataas at last week's "Baby Gators" regional, and again losing in the final today at his first national event. Krohn dominated qualifying, running consecutive passes of 5.162 and 5.170, then reeling off an even better 5.157 in the first round of eliminations, followed by 5.182 and 5.196 times before "slowing" to a 5.213 - 277.77 in the final.

Those numbers were his slowest e.t. and speed of the weekend in the Samsel Family (Robin & Tony) "rent-a-ride" and looks to be a harbinger of what will be a real battle between the three major players in the A/Fuel Dragster ranks. With Rich McPhillips tuning three cars, Randy Meyer two cars, and Tony Samsel one car, and all six racers ready to run full schedules and challenge for the world championship, it's certainly going to be a crowded Top Ten in the points standings in 2023.

The latest update as of March 11, 2023

Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals

The 52nd annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals

Day three dawned sunny and warm and it appears that everything is back on track at Gainesville Raceway. The grandstands were literally packed for the Top Alcohol cars, which is almost unheard of usually, and this was only 10:15 in the morning. Even with all those fans in the seats, the announcers reported a very large traffic jam on the roads leading to the track. It appears that the track may set an attendance record for the day and the event, which could be a very good omen for the 2023 Camping World Drag Racing Series.

The Top Alcohol cars completed their first round of eliminations to start the "fast" portion of the day, and the round saw more than a few upsets and one wild crash. Last year's #2 finisher in the points standings, Matt Cummings, driving the McPhillips Family car smoked the tires and lost to unheralded John Ausherman, who was running just his third national event after debuting halfway through the 2022 season. Things got back to normal for the long skinny cars after that, as rising star Cody Krohn pounded out a new low e.t. of the meet at 5.157 - 279.38 to eclipse his 5.162 and 5.170 qualifying passes. Then the round finished with Julie Nataas joining Krohn in the 5-teens, with a 5.170 coupled with top speed of the meet at 280.60 mph.

There were three very noticeable absences from the dragster field, as last year's #3 finisher, Jasmine Salinas failed to get down the track quicker than 16-seconds on both of her qualifying attempts in the McPhillips-tuned machine. One of the Randy Meyer Racing entries, driven by Hunter Green didn't fare much better with an 8-second pass being his best. And last year's #10 Top Alcohol Dragster racer, Karen Stalba in the Gene Gallant-tuned A/Fuel dragster pedaled her way to a best of 5.965 - 245.47 that fell well short of the mediocre 5.648 bump spot.

A few final notes on Top Alcohol Dragster: there was only ONE supercharged alcohol car in the field, against TWENTY injected nitro entries. It's not a great sign of parity, but the ratio of blown vs injected entries should change when the nationale event tour moves out west for the Pomona and Las Vegas races. Another note is the Canadian particpation in the Gatornationals field. Three cars came down, two from Ontario and one from Quebec, with Dan Mercier leading the group with a pair of low 5.20 runs, including a #4 qualifying 5.214 - 278.86 pass. Unfortunately, Mercier fell in the first round to Cory Michalek, despite running a very good 5.265 - 279.09. Michalek took the win with a slightly slower run, but a quicker leave, an .018 light to Mercier's .036 reaction. A tough way to lose in what might have been one of this final events in Top Alcohol, as he's planning to run the ex-Terry McMillen Top Fuel car on a more regular basis.

The other Canadian drivers, both from Ontario, met in the first round of eliminations, as Jeff Veale (#7) faced Jeff Chatterson (#10). Veale left first and finished first as he improved from his 5.308 qualifying time to a 5.280 - 276.92 to hold off Chatterson's solid 5.350 - 271.08 as both drivers improved over their qualifying efforts. Veale's win earned him a "date" with Julie Nataas in the second round, later this afternoon.

With only nine cars in the Top Alcohol Funny Car pits, there wasn't much drama in qualifying, but the top five cars were all qualifed at 5.505 or better. Only one car clocked in slower than #8 Ryan Stack's 5.645 effort. However, the real drama started early in eliminations as the second pair featured #2 qualifier Bob McCosh, and #9 (last) John Headley in what turned into a debacle. Headley left late, very late, with a .531 reaction time, while McCosh's wasn't that much better at .251, but things went south quickly as McCosh's car labored from the launch and finally banged the blower at half track. That left him coasting, while Headley limped down to the finish line with almost as much trouble, finally passing McCosh at the stripe and turning on the winlight by less than half a car length.

But that wasn't the end of it, as Headley made an immediate right turn into McCosh's lane, passing in front of him and smashing head-on into the wall before the 'chutes even came out. Miraculously, McCosh was able to avoid his out of control opponent, and slowed to a safe stop while Headley was able to exit the remains of his under his own power. The body was broken in half, the front half of the chassis was twisted at nearly a 45 degree angle, and the crash most likely ended Headley's Funny Car career.

However, that wasn't the end of the round as the next pair saw multi-time champion, Greg Bellemeur in the "Killer B's" car get out of shape, pedal and try hard to make up the gap to Canadian Ryan Stack who had troubles of his own but got to the finish line first by a 5.604 - 259.46 to 5.864 - 259.36 for Bellemeur. Stack nearly hit the wall before half track and then had the car skating around in the shutdown area, but got it reined in to a safe stop. The round ended with top qualifier D.J. Cox Jr. having trouble in the right lane on his bye run, but kept the shiny side shiny and got to the finish line under power.

The final qualifying session for Pro Mod followed the Top Alcohol cars, and there were several instances of cars getting out of control in both lanes, but with the lack of downforce on those cars, it's not totally unexpected. More news from Gainesville tomorrow, as we're out of time to work on the website today. As always: stay tuned!

The latest update as of March 9, 2023

Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals

After a four day NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, the "Baby Gators", then three days of Pro testing, the 52nd running of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals started this morning at Gainesville Raceway. By the time the smoke clears on Sunday afternoon, it will be 11 straight days of running at the track. And quite a few racers have been there for all eleven days.

All the PRO fields are full, and Top Alcohol Dragster has 22 entries, but no late surge of last-minute applications arrived for the Alky Funny Cars, leaving them with just nine cars for what was advertised as a 16-car field. I guess everyone is still waiting for all the injected nitro funnies to magically appear and save the class. Or not.

The Top Alcohol cars have one qualifying session today, then things get serious tomorrow with two sessions for the Pro cars and two more qualifier for the alky/nitro burners. Saturday sees the final two qualifying sessions for the Pro racers, and the first two rounds of eliminations for the Top Alcohol gang. As always, final eliminations are on Sunday.

Saturday photos and reports from the March Meet

After a few days of "radio silence", our faithful Colorado correspondent, Dale Fackler recovered enough from his "drive from hell" home from the March Meet to go through his photos and send off a bunch for us to post. Now all we have to do is find time to get it done in a timely manner. We've managed to post almost all of the Saturday photos, but there's still the captions and details to fill in. That will take a day or three.

We've got a raft of photos of our favourite local Top Fuel racer, Phil Ruskowski (Victoria, BC) and we'll be posting most of them separately tomorrow.


Bruce Boardman - 'Bad Obsession' - D/G --- The Roach Coach

(LEFT) We're starting with some sportsman shots, this one featuring Bruce Boardman, running in D/Gas with his '55 Chevy, aptly titled "Bad Obsession".

(RIGHT) Shifting to a completely different animal, we've got what used to be called a "Competition Coupe", but unfortunately we have no idea what eliminator this car competes in or who the driver is. It appears to be loosely based on a Fiat Topolino, but there's several of them competing in different categories so we'll just have to call this one "unidentified".

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #2

The pressure was squarely on the non-qualified, or at least not safely qualified drivers going into this session. With a not terribly stiff 6.160 bump spot, held down by Jim Murphy, and some very heavy hitters sitting directly below him, all signs pointed to an intense session of Top Fuel competition. With one final session on tap for late in the day, everyone wanted to make this session count.

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' --- Michael Anderson

(LEFT) Already solidly in the field in the #4 spot, Tyler Hester and the gang working on the "Overtime Special" inched up the ladder a few hundredths, from Friday's 5.893 to an even better 5.874 - 221.42 time, despite a rather early shutoff.

(RIGHT) Coming all the way from Texas, Michael Anderson also picked up a bit from his first session 6.466, but it wasn't nearly enough, as his 6.361 - 215.31 effort left him four spots short of making the 8-car field.

Bryan Hall - 'H&H Nomad' --- Bryan Hall - 'H&H Nomad'

Qualified in the #6 spot coming into the session with a 6.022 - 242.45, Bryan Hall in the "H & H Nomad" entry was able to break into the 5-second zone with a stronger 5.906 - 226.96 that moved him up one rung to #5 on the ladder. Despite getting off the throttle a little early, the Nomad showed some solid potential going into eliminations.

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

After jumping out of the groove and heading for the centerline, a few hundred feet into Friday's first session, Victoria, BC's Phil Ruskowski hoped for a much better result in his second attempt. However, the "Xhibitionist" ran out of power early and coasted to a 7.341 - 144.66 that left him outside the field in the #14 position.

Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' --- Pete Wittenberg - 'Circuit Breaker'

(LEFT) It was another disappointed team, as usual qualifiers, the ""Champion Speed Shop" car with Adam Sorokin at the wheel, failed to make the cut for the first time in several years. After carding a 6.307 - 193.18 in the first session, they only improved to a 6.234 - 210.18 in this second session, leaving them just one more chance to break into the field.

(RIGHT) Sitting at the top of the list after the first day with a solid 5.820 - 227.46 pass, the "Circuit Breaker" car, driven by Pete Wittenberg, managed to hang on to the top rung despite not improving in this session. Fortunately, the next two drivers on the ladder also failed to better their Friday times.

Shayne Stewart

Transplanted Australian, Shayne Stewart, who now lives in Orange, CA, didn't have any better luck this time around, and remained in the #13 spot with his Friday 6.743 - 135.67 performance.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max Racing' --- Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max Racing'

Pulling up to the stage beams under the watchful eye of father Pat, young Drew Austin readied the Boss 429 Ford-powered "Pro Max Racing" entry for another quick pass. They came into this final session in the #8 position with a strong 5.757 - 241.07, but failed to better those numbers and finished qualifying in the middle of the field in the eighth spot. It was interesting to note though that their 252.28 mph speed in Friday's first qualifier, indicated some serious horsepower under the Mustang "Cobra" body.

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak'

(LEFT) The "Problem Child" didn't quite live up to its nickname after carding a 5.873 - 235.02 in Friday's first session, but Billy Morris and crew chief Eddie Knox weren't able to better that run in the second or third qualifiers. Morris sat #9 after the first session, dropped to #11, and finally landed in the #12 spot as qualifying closed.

(RIGHT) Always contending for the best "BUG" (back-up girl) award, Brad Thompson rebounded from a first session 6.455 pass to a strong 5.889 at a booming 258.22 in Friday's second round. He contiuned his upward trajectory in the finals session, pushing the "Jailbreak - System 1" Camaro to an even better 5.839 to snag the #11 spot in the final order.

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' --- Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick'

(LEFT) Receiving able assistance from Heidi Austin-Root in reversing after the burnout, Bobby Cottrell followed her direction to put the "Bardahl Special" in the right spot for a good launch. It certainly worked well as Cottrell dropped a bomb on the rest of the field, blasting into the 5.60's with a low qualifying 5.661 - 256.50 to snatch the top spot away from Tim Boychuk's 5.692 pass on Friday.

(RIGHT) Still having trouble getting the car up to speed, Tim Bynum and the "Nitro Nick" Firebird did improve from a no time in the first session, to a 7.418 in the second session, and finally a 6.142 - 225.60 in the final qualifier. Unfortunately, that placed him #17 in a 16-car field. However, redemption came later in the day when Geoff Monise announced that the "Quarter Pounder" was broken and wouldn't make the first round of eliminations. That opened the door and Bynum happily accepted his second chance.

Jim Maroney - 'Speed Sport' --- Rian Konno - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno'

(LEFT) With NHRA Top Fuel racer Jim Maroney at the controls, the "Speed Sport" Omni started his weekend in the #10 after Friday's first session, but and was able to improve on his initial 6.205 - 229.16 pass, cranking out a 6.112 - 238.17 in the second session, but falling to #14 in the process. Things didn't get any better for Jim in his final qualifier and he slipped one more notch to #15 in the final order.

(RIGHT) Opening his card with a 26-second pass on Friday, then improving to a 6.554 - 136.37 on his second try to hang on to a very tenuous bump spot, Rian Konno was unable to better that time in the final session and finished qualifying in the #18 position and on the outside looking in as eliminations began. It was a hard landing for the usually hard running "Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno" team.

Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro'

Hoping to move up the charts from his #15 spot in the field, Chris Davis was unable to better the "Old School Nitro" car's Friday best of 6.132, and saw himself drop to the last spot, #16, and a first round pairing with Bobby Cottrell. Both are Washington state cars, but on very different ends of the performance spectrum.

AA/FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Session #2 (FINAL)

After just eleven cars got down the track in Friday's only qualifying session, there were a full "baker's dozen" (13) cars in the lanes for Saturday's second qualifier. Just eight cars would qualify in the 6.00-indexed field, but the session started with Mike Halstead on the bump spot with a rather weak 7.45 e.t.

James Generalao Jr. - 'Impatient' --- Johnny West - 'Plan A'

(LEFT) Not appearing on the qualifying sheets after Friday's session, the Las Vegas-based "Impatient" '23 T of James Generalao Jr. made a big statement in the final qualifying session with a 6.137 at only 199.61 mph as he shut off early to stay above the 6.00 index. The pass was good enough to land in the top half of the field in the #3 position.

(RIGHT) A veteran of blown fuel cars since the early 1970's, Arizona's Johnny West was sitting #2 on the ladder going into this final session, but dropped all the way to #6 as he was unable to replicate or better his Friday 6.217 - 215.26 performance.

Bob Godfrey - 'Burnin' Money' --- Dylan Winefsky - 'Nitro Moose'

(LEFT) With nowhere to go but up after barely getting to the finish line on Friday and sitting at the very bottom of the field, Bob Godfrey made his second attempt in the aptly named "Burnin' Money" '23 "T" truck, but he didn't have much better luck, finally stopping the clocks at 19.589 - 55.67 to sit at the very bottom of the final qualifying list in the #13 position.

(RIGHT) Hoping to followup his breakout performance at the 2022 March Meet, where he ran in the 6-teens and made it to the semifinals, second generation driver Dylan Winefsky piloted the "Nitro Moose" '32 Bantam to low e.t. of Friday's qualifying round, pounding out a 6.192 - 223.50 to lead the field going into the final session. He ran slightly better in this session, cranking out a 6.176 - 219.51 but saw his placing drop three spots to #4 in the final order. All in all, a great start to the weekend for the Arizona youngster.

Derrick Moreira - 'Nitro Junkies' (near lane) 
vs Matt Leonard- 'Nitro Rat' (far lane) --- Derrick Moreira - 'Nitro Junkies' (near lane) 
vs Matt Leonard- 'Nitro Rat' (far lane)

Doing double duty with his "Nitro Junkies" '48 Fiat and his new Nostalgia Funny Car, Derrick Moreira was hoping to make a big jump up the ladder from outside the field in the #9 spot after running 7.877 - 110.11 in the first qualifier. He did just that with a very much improved 6.187 - 200.95 in Saturday's lone session, good enough to grab the #5 spot in the field going into eliminations. Visible in the far lane in the right photo was Matt Leonard in his "Nitro Rat" as he was bumped out of the show by Moreira's run. Leonard was #6 going into the final session but fell to #9 after failing to better his earlier 6.737 - 204.45 effort.

Jason Pettit - 'Hell Fire II' --- Keith Wilson - 'Witch Doctor' - NPC

(LEFT) With what appears to be a very unfinished car, the stretched nose '48 Fiat Topolino "Hell Fire II", driven by Jason Pettit laid down a 6.443 - 222.84 on Friday to grab the #5 spot in the field. He wasn't able to improve on those numbers Saturday and saw his ranking drop to the #8 spot, but still in the field for eliminations.

(RIGHT) Our last AA/Fuel Altered was actually qualifying for the Nitro Pro Comp show as the "Witch Doctor" has shown a penchant for running quicker, and sometimes much quicker than the 6.00 Fuel Altered index. Driver Keith Wilson showcased that trait again on Friday with a 5.738 e.t. at "only" 218.05 mph. That was enough to break out of the 5.90-index set for the Pro Comp field. On this pass he was able to tame the car down to a 6.352 - 161.23, by shutting off at 1000' mark.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round #1

Cory Lee - 'Pedaler' --- Cory Lee - 'Pedaler' (near lane) vs 
Derrick Moreira (far lane)

In the right lane, it's itinerant drag racer extraordinaire Cory Lee in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" Challenger, coming into the opening match of the first round of eliminations from the #3 qualifying position. Facing him in the far lane was the mostly obscured entry of Hawaii's Derrick Moreira who sat #14 on the ladder. The drivers left together, but Lee had to pedal the car right off the line and fell back quite a bit before pounding on the loud pedal to the tune of a 6.367 - 247.84, but it wasn't nearly enough to catch Moreira's first time in the five's 5.955 - 227.34 effort.

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' --- Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro'

(LEFT) With almost all the cards in his favour, Canada's Tim Boychuk was ready to race in his Twig Ziegler-tuned "Happy Hour" Camaro. Opponent Jim Maroney (not shown) qualified 13 spots below Boychuk and finished well back in this race, as his 6.080 - 211.23 couldn't begin to keep up with Boychuk's very strong 5.774 - 247.75 blast. Maroney did get the "Speed Sport" launched first, but his three hundredths advantage was gone before they passed the 60' timers.

(RIGHT) The biggest David vs Goliath match in the field was next, as the #16 qualifier, Spokane's Chris Davis, in his "Old School Nitro" Arrow faced the top dog in the field, the Austin & O'Brien "Bardahl Special" with Bobby Cottrell in the saddle. Davis gave it his best shot with a decent 6.176 - 117.34, but Cottrell trainlengthed him early and ran away to a 5.685 - 254.62 to nearly match his low e.t. of the meet, a 5.661 recorded in the final qualifying session.

Kris Krabill - 'Bartone & Lebor Racing' (near lane) 
vs Ryan Hodgson - 'Bubble Up - Pacemaker' (far lane) --- Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour'

(LEFT) With a very colourful Darrell Gwynn banner on the side of the "Bartone & Lebor" car, Washington State's Kris Krabill faced Ryan Hodgson in the (mostly obscured) "Pacemaker - Bubble UP" Firebird. With a nearly three tenths advantage in qualifying e.t.'s, Krabill added to that advantage by leaving on Hodgson by nearly a tenth, then running away to a low e.t. of the round 5.667 - 247.97 as Hodgson slowed to a 6.313 with a lot of death smoke trailing him through the lights.

(RIGHT) On the return road, with Derrick Moreira's car behind him and his own car on the far side, is a happy first round winner, Tim Boychuk, heading back to the pits. Boychuk had jumped out of his tow vehicle to watch the Krabill vs Hodgson race.

Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' BUG --- Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment'

(LEFT) We haven't got much of the car in this shot, but all of Brad Thompson's reverse gear assistant, before he blasted to a new career best e.t. - by a bunch - at 5.671 - 254.90 to easily outdistance Kamaka Pocock (not shown), who clocked in at 5.877 - 249.16 in the losing effort.

(RIGHT) Up to the 1000' mark. Tony Jurado in the "Capitol Punishment" Camaro was running neck-and-neck with opponent Billy Morris (not shown) before the "Problem Child"'s engine expired in a large cloud of smoke. Morris had an eight hundredths reaction time advantage and was running well before the blowup. Jurado got the win with a 5.901 - 251.30, while Morris coasted across the stripe at 6.250 - 175.50 for the loss.

There were two more pairs in the first round but unfortunately we don't have photos of those matches. There was a very lengthy cleanup from Morris's engine explosion, and with the light quickly fading, and temperatures falling even faster, our photographer made the wise decision to head for the motel and warm up. The first pair that ran after the Morris vs Jurado race were Ryan Horan and Mike Peck Sr., and they engaged in a very entertaining pedalfest, with both drivers working the throttle hard before Horan stopped the timers at 8.173 - 232.47, while Peck finished second at 8.526 - 175.50. For the record, Peck did leave first, by a .153 to .309 (!!) margin, but the margin at the finish line was still nearly two tenths of a second.

The first round ended with Drew Austin easily advancing over Matt Bynum by a 5.855 - 247.02 to 6.590 - 155.29 verdict. Austin also left first by nearly half a tenth before running away from Bynum's early shutoff effort, as he trailed copious clouds of smoke going into the lights. And that put a wrap on Saturday's action at the Good Vibrations March Meet.


Due to work commitments, our intrepid photographer, Dale Fackler had to hit the road back to Colorado as it appeared that Sunday was going to be a total rainout. The hard working Famoso track crew did get the surface dried long enough to run three of the four pairs in the Nostalgia Funny Car quarterfinals before the rain came back and washed out the balance of the day's racing.

With the heavy air and cool track temps, the conditions on Sunday afternoon weren't great, but the first pair down the track, veteran Brad Thompson and upstart Derrick Moreira put on a good race. Conditions weren't bad at all, as Thompson backed up his first round 5.671 pass with an almost as great 5.676 to hold off Moreira's new career bests of 5.873 - 244.07 in a losing cause.

Next up were Tim Boychuk and young Ryan Horan, and it quickly got interesting as Horan put a major holeshot on Boychuk, with an .025 to .175 light. However, Horan didn't hold the lead for long as he faded near the top end, finally getting across the finish line at 6.097 - 193.10, while Boychuk cranked out a great 5.737 - 248.43 for the win. It wasn't enough to earn lane choice against Thompson in the semifinals though.

Matching wheels for the first 800' were Kris Krabill and Tony Jurado, with Krabill leading off the line by half a tenth. Things got quite in Krabill's lane before the 1000' mark as he coasted across the stripe at 6.346 - 146.07. Taking the winlight was Jurado with a very solid 5.776 - 251.77 effort to earn the right to face either Drew Austin or Bobby Cottrell in the next round.

That final pairing of the round saw close launches, with Bobby Cottrell taking a .021 reaction time advantage, and hanging on to turn on the winlight with a 5.697 - 256.41 over an oh-so-close 5.705 - 256.65 for young Drew Austin. The margin at the finish line was less than a car length in what was the closest race of eliminations. Adding to the drama was the intra-mural battle between the Austin family, with Grandfather Walt and father Pat on Drew's team, all of them facing Uncle Bucky and Cottrell on the other side.

The semifinals saw one very close race and one runaway. First out were Tim Boychuk and Brad Thompson and it was all over by the 60' mark. Thompson reacted first by a few thousandths, but instantly went into heavy tire shake, leading to a blower pop and just enough momentum to coast down to the finish line. Taking full advantage was Boychuk, as he slowed slightly with some burned pistons, but put down a decent 5.849 - 241.67 to advance to the final round. Facing him in that round would be the winner of the Cottrell versus Jurado pairing. Bobby Cottrell did his job on the starting line, leaving first by eight hundredths, then hanging on for the holeshot win, as his 5.821 - 249.76 stopped the clocks first. Tony Jurado gave it all he had with a tremendous 5.782 - 256.80, but he crossed the line abpout 3/4-ths of a car behind.

The final round was dripping with dramatic overtones, as the hard working Austin & O'Brien team had been thrashing between every round to keep the car running. There was hardly a run all weekend that didn't come at a price in parts and labour. On the other side, "Team Canada" was cool and calm with a combination of new parts that was working well. But it all came undone when they lowered the body behind the burnout box and shorted out the mag, killing the motor. With no chance to refire, Tim Boychuk could only watch in horror as Bobby Cottrell took the automatic win. And that one didn't come easy either, as the engine let go again before the 1000' mark, slowing the "Bardhal Special" to a 6.094 - 179.04 clocking.

The latest update as of March 7, 2023

As reported on the home page, the 65th annual Good Vibrations March Meet was completed yesterday at Famoso Dragstrip. After two days of on-and-off-and-on rain and cool temperatures, the weather cooperated long enough on Monday to complete eliminations in all classes except Nostalgia Top Fuel. The AA/Fuel Dragster group made the collective decision to postpone eliminations until the Friday of the California Hot Rod Reunion in late October. After a weekend that saw them go from what was supposed to be a guaranteed 16-car field, to an 8-car show, then an 8-car field and a 4-car "consolation" eliminator, the front engine fuel racers decided to go home and reflect on what happened before coming back to Bakersfield eight months from now.

With eliminations completed in Nostalgia Funny Car, and not wanting to wait for NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series points standings to be posted, we've got the Top Ten in the 2023 standings below.

NHRA Heritage Series AAFC Points March 7, 2023

Interestingly, this morning one of the headlines on the NHRA website was the announcement of the Legends Nitro Funny Car series running in conjunction with the Hot Rod Heritage Series this year. Read the full story here. Besides running at the six heritage series races, the Legends will compete in 8-car shows at three NHRA Camping World Series national events. First up is the upcoming Lucas Oil Winternationals, then the Thunder Valley Nationals, and at the 9-race series final event of the year, the Nevada Nationals, where the group debuted last fall.

Checking out the Legends Nitro Funny Cars website indicates that 11 race teams are part of the group, with an invitation for others to join. Seven of the 11 cars listed on the website qualified at Famoso, one, Bill Windham (one of the series founders) failed to make the 16-car field, and three others didn't attend. It will be interesting to see if more racers join the Legends, how many will be attending each event, and just how they progress through the season. One factor in their favour will be coverage on the NHRA broadcasts on Fox Sports.

In Northern Thunder news, we are working on captioning and detailing the photos we've already posted from the March Meet and will have that project finished later this week. Looking ahead, we've applied for media credentials at one of the premier events on the Heritage Series circuit, the 52nd annual Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Boise (actually Nampa), Idaho. It's in early August where the weather is expected to be hot... and hotter, but it's been on my personal bucket list for quite a few years, and hopefully will come to fruition in 2023.

The latest update as of March 6, 2023

Monday Morning Musings

It was quite a weekend of racing with three races on two coasts. One NHRA Heritage Series event (Bakersfield, CA), an NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Eastern Regional (Gainesville, FL), and the much ballyhooed $100K to win "World Series of Pro Mod" (Bradenton, FL). Two of the three races were completed yesterday despite some weather challenges. Saturday was a near total washout for the Gainesville event, on Friday afternoon there were high winds at Bradenton that held up proceedings for a few hours, but the real whammy was delivered at Bakersfield. Rain on Saturday evening persisted until Sunday morning before final eliminations got off to a late start. That lasted through three pairs of Nostalgia Funny Cars before the rain started again, finally causing the plug to be pulled for the day.

The "sportsman" (Group 1 & 2) racers are scheduled to complete their eliminations this morning, and the weather forecast shows minimal chance of rain, but the "Pro" cars (Nostalgia Funny Car, AA/Fuel Altered, and Nitro Pro Comp) will complete their eliminations at date(s) to be determined. It has been announced that Nostalgia Top Fuel will run their entire eliminations at the California Hot Rod Reunion in October. After all the machinations of the weekend, seeing their 16-car field cut to 8-cars, then seeing a 4-car "consolation" field created at the last minute for the quickest four (9 - 12 on the list) non-qualifiers, the Top Fuel racers must be heading home with a very sour taste in their mouths.

It will be interesting to see how the events - and non-events - of the 65th annual Good Vibrations March Meet play out in the coming days, weeks, and months. And how it's going to affect - or not - the rest of the 2023 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series schedule. Stay tuned for more news on that. The most positive news to come out of Famoso was the full grandstands on Friday and Saturday, and pit areas full of racers eager to start their season.

The "Baby Gators" at Gainesville Raceway

Despite the rain on Saturday, the Top Alcohol racers all stayed for the Sunday eliminations, under sunny skies. An over-subscribed field of dragsters - 19 in all - tried to qualify into the 8-car field which closed with a 5.317 bump spot, and the first three alternates in the 5.30's. Even if they expanded the show to 16 cars, the bubble would have been a decent 5.619 e.t. Interestingly, the field was the largest since the 2016 Norwalk event. Sadly though, the ratio of injected to blown cars was 18 - 1, with Dan Dietrich being the only supercharged entry on the grounds. He finished as the 7th alternate with a 5.617 best in qualifying.

The Funny Car field was much slimmer, with just seven cars showing up. Despite the much hyped addition of injected nitro as an induction option for the 2023 season, participation in the class seems to be still declining. With just a few hours remaining before entries close for this week's Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, there are still only nine cars on the pre-entry list. Compare that to the 20 Top Alcohol dragsters on the list, again with a preponderance of nitro-burning entries: 17 injected versus 3 blown cars.

Taking the wins at the Gainesville regional were Julie Nataas in her Randy Meyer Racing entry, with low e.t. and top speed in the final round, at 5.202 - 280.89 to show that the team is serious about finishing much higher than last year's #6 in the world championship standings. The Meyer team will have two full-time racers this year, with Hunter Green and Nataas both running full schedules. They'll be facing some tough competition with the McPhillips gang fielding three cars, as last year's #3 finisher Jasmine Salinas is back, along with Matt Cummings, and "rookie" Tony Stewart in a brand new car. All three racers are running a full schedule which is going to keep Rich McPhillips Sr. (Pops), and Richie very busy in 2023. While Stewart and Cummings both lost in the first round on Sunday, Cummings took the top qualifying spot with a very good 5.223 - 276.73 effort.

The Robin & Tony Samsel team has a new driver this year, with Cody Krohn at the wheel of their hot rod and early indications are that they will be another team to watch, as Krohn went all the way to the final round against Nataas. He qualified #3 with a 5.238 - 271.41, then stayed in the .20's until slowing to a 5.318 - 262.59 to lose a close race for the wally.

Much more to come on this and other stories tomorrow. For now, we're anxiously awaiting news and photos from Saturday's action at Bakersfield. Stay tuned.

The latest update as of March 5, 2023

March Meet 2023

It's the fourth (or fifth or sixth, depending on how you count it) day of the 2023 March Meet. Qualifying finished yesterday and the first round of Nostalgia Funny Car was run late on Saturday afternoon. Despite a bad weather forecast (rain!), the rain has stopped and track drying is underway as this is being written. Our faithful correspondent, Dale Fackler is on hand and will be at the starting line to capture any and all on-track action. It was a late finish last night so yesterday's photos haven't arrived yet and may not be available until after the weekend. When we get them, we'll post them. And fill in all the results.

The latest update as of March 4, 2023

March Meet 2023

We've received a large batch of photos from Friday's first qualifying sessions, but we've only got time to post a handful of them today. Personal obligations are going to use up our time for the rest of the day. Look for the balance of the Friday fotos - and Saturday's - on Sunday morning. As always: stay tuned!

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR Qualifying Session #1

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' --- Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special'

(LEFT) Starting the season with a new determination and lots of new parts, Tim Boychuk ran into nothing but trouble on his first pass as the "Happy Hour" Camaro shook the tires, then went into a front wheel shimmy that broke the steering. The net result was a 30-second e.t. at 35 mph and a spot near the bottom of the field.

(RIGHT) Having a much better result than Thursday's explosion and fire, Bobby Cottrell whipped Bucky Austin & Ed O'Brien's "Bardahl Special" to a solid 5.803 - 250.64 to grab a spot in the top half of the field.

Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max' --- Mike Peck Sr. - 'Quote Wizard'

(LEFT) With a new look and new Mustang body, third generation racer Drew Austin fell in right behind "Uncle Bucky's" car as the "Pro-Max" team saw a 5.816 - 252.28 light up the scoreboards. With dad Pat and grandfather Walt calling the tuning shots, the "WAR Racing" team is looking for another good season after falling back a little, performance-wise, in 2022.

(RIGHT) After sitting out most of the 2022 season in favour of son Mike Jr., the "Qoute Wizard" Camaro of Mike Peck Sr. ran the first 5.70 of the event, with a very strong 5.754 - 253.04 showing that he wasn't just filling in for his son.

Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' --- Derrick Moreira

(LEFT) After spending two years and tons of money running an NHRA "Big Show" Funny Car, Tony Jurado brought out his beautiful "Capitol Punishment" Camaro at the final event of the 2022 Heritage Series season. He runner-uped at the California Hot Rod Reunion, and his opening pass here clocked in at 5.745 - 255.97 to grab at least a temporary hold on the top rung on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Our final photo from this session shows the still unlettered new car of Hawaii's Derrick Moreira didn't get the result he was looking for as the car broke and oiled the track, resulting in a DQ of his first qualifying pass.

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL Qualifying Session #1

Frank McBee Jr. -'Valley Thunder' --- Bryan Hall - 'H & H Nomad'

(LEFT) After only one unsuccesful appearance at last year's final event, the "Valley Thunder" team, with Frank McBee Jr. at the wheel, came in Famoso ready to rumble. Their first qualifier put them solidly in the field with an early shutoff 5.909 - 225.52 that place them #5 in the 8-car field.

(RIGHT) Slotting in one notch below the Thunder gang, Bryan Hall in the "H & H Nomad" entry grabbed the sixth spot in the field with a 6.022 - 242.45 clocking. Not the quickest e.t. but a fairly big speed on the top end.

Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' --- Dan Horan - 'The Patriot'

(LEFT) Last year's second place finisher in the AA/FD standings, and defending champion of the March Meet, Bret Williamson in the beautiful full-bodied "Forever Young" digger was on a good pass until the 1000' mark before clicking it to a 6.224 - 193.32 that left him outside the field.

(RIGHT) Concentrating on the dragster as son Ryan has the reins of the Funny Car, Dan Horan pounded out a very good opening lap of 5.840 at only 218.19 to grab the third rung on the ladder with the "Patriot" entry.

Phil Ruskowski - 'Xibitionist - Island Nitro' --- Phil Ruskowski - 'Xhibitionist - Island Nitro'

Back for another season of "dragon-slaying", Victoria BC's Phil Ruskowski and the "Island Nitro" gang have the small-block Chevy powered "Xhibitionist" primed for what they hope will be a season to remember. Their first attempt saw the car launch hard, then at the 300' mark jump to the right and head for the centerline, forcing Phil to shut it down to a disappointing 9.356 - 101.10 clocking.

Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' --- Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild'

(LEFT) Last year's Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel champion, Tyler Hilton in the now hemi-powered "Great Expectations III" car made a good pass to half track before pulling the pin and slowing to a 6.314 - 157.26 pass that left them well outside the first day field.

(RIGHT) Vetran SoCal fuel racer Brendan Murry in the full-bodied "Runnin' Wild" was another early shutoff victim, but his 6.100 - 195.70 was enough to grab a spot in Friday's top eight, in the #7 spot.

Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' --- Jim Murphy - 'WW III'

(LEFT) Still running the most unique car in the field, with the only canopied dragster in nostalgia racing, Adam Sorokin in the small-block powered "Champion Speed Shop Special" fell short of making the field on his first pas with a 6.307 - 193.18 that placed him #10 of the 15 cars that ran in the first session.

(RIGHT) Anchoring the provisional 8-car field was long-time runner and 2017 series champion Jim Murphy in his familiar Kelly green "WW II"

Shawn Van Horn - 'Titan Speed Engineering'

It took a bit of sleuthing to unearth the driver's correct name as Shawn Van Horn is now using his brother Nick's competition number. With the confusion cleared up, he drove the "Titan Speed Engineering" fueler through at least a burnout but didn't receive a timeslip for his efforts. We'll try to dig up the details later.

AA/FUEL ALTERED Qualifying Session #1

Running on a 6.00-index and trying to qualify for an 8-car field, the "Awful Awfuls" pits were overflowing with at least 13 cars, which included some new cars and drivers, and lots of the regular faces seen at Bakersfield. With just two qualifying sessions available, the stakes were high right out of the gate.

Jason Pettit - 'Hell Fire II' --- Rodney Flournoy - 'Godzilla'

(LEFT) Leading off the session was Jason Pettit in a rather weird looking '48 Fiat Topolino dubbed "Hell Fire II". Despite a flat black paint scheme and decidedly unfinished look about it, the car ran well with a 6.443 - 222.84 flashing up on the boards to put him solidly in the field in the #5 position.

(RIGHT) After nearly half a century burning nitro, Rodney Flournoy is still at it with his "Godzilla" entry. The family hot rod ran well to half track before shutting off early to a 7.108 - 186.10 that placed him #7 on the provisional qualifying list.

Cory Lee - 'Sheepherder' --- Mike Halstead - 'Over The Hill Gang'

(LEFT) Driver of almost everything that burns nitro, veteran Cory Lee has been at the controls of the "Sheepherder" for the past year, working out the bugs for owner John Aleman. They've been making progress, evidenced by a safe 6.330 - 210.90 clocking that placed Lee in the middle of the pack at #4 for the first session.

(RIGHT) Another veteran of Funny Cars and Fuel Altereds, Mike Halstead is now driving the "Over The Hill Gang" '23 T-roadster, and pushed the Donovan 392 engine to an early shutoff (lots of that going around, eh?) 7.450 - 163.35 to grab the #8 spot, at least temporarily. Interestingly, the car ran without a wing or any downforce inducing attachements.

Mark Whynaught - 'Nitro Mamba' --- Matt Leonard - 'Nitro Rat'

(LEFT) With a wild paint scheme on the "Nitro Mamba", driver Mark Whynaught clicked it off at the 1000' mark to avoid breaking out, with a #3 qualifying 6.249 - 209.26 pass.

(RIGHT) Sporting another eye-catching colour scheme, Matt Leonard laid down a pedaling 6.737 - 204.45 in the hemi-powered "Nitro Rat". Click on the image to see a larger view of the slicks wrapping up on the launch and the #8 cylinder puffing out some raw fuel.

In all, 11 cars made a pass in the session and the times ranged from Dylan Winefsky's low qualifying 6.192 - 223.50 to the bump spot holder, Mike Halstead with a 7.450 - 163.35. Only one more session remained on Saturday and the pressure was definitely on for the drivers on the bottom half of the list.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR Qualifying Session #2

Of the 18 cars that got down the track in the first session, only nine of them dropped into the 5-second zone, ranging from Kris Krabill's top qualifying 5.719 - 250.27 pass, down to the #9 sitter, Billy Morris, at 5.873 - 235.02. From there the e.t.'s quickly dropped into the 6's and slower, as evidenced by #10 (Jim Maroney's) 6.205 - 229.16. At the bottom of the 16-car field sat Rian Konno with a 26-second time. Even though there was another qualifying session scheduled for Saturday, the pressure to perform in this round was definitely in the air.

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- Rian Konno - 'Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno'

(LEFT)First out of the lanes was the aforementioned Billy Morris in the Camaro-bodied "Problem Child". He failed to improve on his earlier 5.87 effort and saw his placing drop two spots to #11 by the end of the session.

(RIGHT)Wanting to get off the bump spot, Rian Konno pushed the "Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno" Mustang to much better numbers than in the first session. However, his 6.554 - 136.37 indicated that there was still work to do. Good early numbers went by the wayside at half track as he was off the throttle at that point. The verdict: still on the bubble going into the final qualifier.

Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick' --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder'

(LEFT) After failing to show for the first session, Matt Bynum got the "Nitro Nick" Firebird across the finish line, but not very quickly as a 7.418 - 134.69 came up on the scoreboards. That left only one more chance for the team to get into the elimination field.

(RIGHT) Making a big improvement and climbing the charts was Geoff Monise in the "Quarter Pounder". Running for the first time without team founder Keith Clark, who passed recently, Dale Van Gundy and Monise got the Firebird into the 5.70's with a very good 5.769 - 251.02 to move up to #9 (from #15) and guarantee a spot in the field for race day.

Ryan Hodgson - 'Bubble Up - Paemaker' (near lane) 
vs Kris Krabill - 'Bartone & Lebor Racing' (far lane) --- Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro'

(LEFT) Despite some earlier misinformation that last year's illness replacement driver Nathan Sitko was behind the wheel, it was in fact Ryan Hodgson in the hot seat again in the iconic Gordie Bonin tribute "Bubble Up - Pacemaker" Firebird in the near lane. There was no improvement on his first session 6.653 - 194.97 as the blower banged on the hit of the throttle. In the far lane was Kris Krabill in the Bartone & Lebor Racing" car that featured the Darrell Gwynn charitable foundation. Krabill wasn't able to improve on his first pass (5.719 - 250.27) and fell two spots to #3 at the end of the session.

(RIGHT) Still going "Old School Nitro" in his '77 Arrow, Washington state's Chris Davis took one step forward with an improved 6.132 - 232.99 pass after clocking in at 6.224 - 231.83 in the first go-round. Despite the improvement, he dropped four spots from #11 to #15, with just one more chance to step up to a higher placing on the ladder, or simply stay in the field.

Bill Windham - 'Shakedown' --- Bardahl Special - Heidi Austin-Cottrell & crew member

(LEFT) Having more trouble was Bill Windham in the very colourful "Shakedown" Firebird, as he wasn't able to better his first session 6.931 - 142.67 effort and dropped from #14 to #18, outside the field and nearly half a second shy of the new 6.554 bump spot.

(RIGHT) Giving each other fist bumps before backing up Bobby Cottrell in the Austin & O'Brien "Bardahl Special" were Heidi Austin-Root and an unidentified crew member. They must have been celebrating after Cottrell's run as the car stepped up to a 5.732 - 253.52 to move up one spot on the ladder to te #4 position going into the final qualifying session.

The latest update as of March 3, 2023

March Meet 2023

Here's a selection of images from Thursday's test 'n tune session. No times or speeds were available.

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' --- Ron Capps - Burkholder Bros.

(LEFT) Knocking the dust off or blowing out the cobwebs, Tyler Hester took the "Overtime Special" out for a shakedown run to start his season. The team ran well last year, finishing #6 in the final point standings, appearing at just three events: going to the semis at the March Meet, runnerup at Boise, and a second round exit at the California Hot Rod Reunion.

(RIGHT) We're doubtful that this is Ron Capps at the tiller in the "Burkholder Bros." tribute '48 Fiat, even though it looks like his helmet. We can't quite see the competition number on the side of the car to confirm or correct it. We know that Sabrina Capps is competing in A/Fuel at this event but she drives a dragster in that class. Can anyone clear up the mystery here?

Bob Godfrey - 'Burnin' Money' --- Eily Stafford - 'Mark Borjon Racing'

(LEFT) Showing how easy it is to live up to the car's title, Bob Godfrey blasted down the track in his "Burnin' Money" '23 T-roadster truck. Now running as a Fuel Altered after battling in Funny Car, he's apparently slowed down the flow of the money hose somewhat.

(RIGHT) Moving over from the 7.0 PRO ranks, Eily Stafford made a pass in the "Mark Borjon Racing" rear-engine Top Fuel car. I'm not sure of the car's heritage but it does look like the former Warren & Coburn - "Rain For Rent" tribute car of a few years back.

Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler' --- Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special'

(LEFT) Coming out with a new paint job and major sponsor for 2023, the Don Hudson-owned "California Hustler", with Kamaka Pocock driving tested before qualifying started on Friday.

(RIGHT) Everything looked good at this point, but down track the Bobby Cottrell driven "Bardahl Special" ran into a ton of trouble. A engine explosion and fire caused an awful lot of damage, necessitating a near all-nighter by the entire crew to get the car ready for the first qualifying session on Friday afternoon.

Ryan Horan - 'Infinity Plumbing' --- Ryan Hodgson - 'Bubble up - Pacemaker'

(LEFT) Even though there was some discussion that Dan Horan Jr. was behind the wheel, it was actually Ryan Horan piloting the "Infinity Plumbing" Camaro. It appears that he will be driving the flopper in 2023, while Dad will campaign the team's Nostalgia Top Fuel entry.

(RIGHT) Ready to drive again after only one appearance in 2022, at Boise's Nightfire Nationals, where he failed to qualify, Ryan Hodgson was ready to mix it up with the Ron Hodgson-owned "Bubble up - Pacemaker" Firebird.

Mark Whynaught - 'Nitro Mamba' --- Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment'

(LEFT) Testing out the traction was Mark Whynaught in the "Nitro Mamba" fuel altered. He's worked his way up from 7.0 PRO elimintor to the AA/Fuel Altered class and is capable of testing the 6.0-index.

(RIGHT) Stepping back into the his Nostalgia Funny Car, Tony Jurado was planning to inflict some more "Capitol Punishment" on his competitors to follow up a successful appearance at last season's final event at Bakersfield, the California Hot Rod Reunion.

Kris Krabill - 'Bartone & Lebor Racing' --- Bill Windham - 'Shakedown'

(LEFT) A bit of an odd combination was on display here as Covington, Washington's Kris Krabill wheeled the East Coast-based "Bartone & Lebor Racing" funny car. A nice touch was the Darrell Gwynn - Nick Buoniconti charitable foundation.

(RIGHT) Looking to atone for a mostly forgettable 2022 campaign which resulted in a DNQ at Boise and a first round loss at Bakersfield's CHRR, Bill Windham was out "shaking down" (pun intended) "Shakedown" Firebird before qualifying started on Friday.

Matt Leonard - 'Nitro Rat' --- Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max Racing'

(LEFT) We've got a feeling that this run didn't ring up any great numbers, based on the massive wheel speed as the car launched. I'm sure the next few frames were filled with tire smoke. In any case, Matt Leonard was driving the hemi-powered "Nitro Rat" '32 Bantam roadster.

(RIGHT) It appears that this wasn't a great run either as it appears that Drew Austin was launching, not burning out in the unique Ford-powered "Pro-Max Racing" Trans-Am Firebird-bodied car. With all the experience - three generations worth - we're sure they got it sorted out before qualifying started.

Rickey Fegan - 'Godzilla II' --- Derrick Moreira

(LEFT) One of the "SoCal Blower Boyz", Ricky Fegan drove the Flournoy team's second car, aptly named "Godzilla II" on a test pass. We didn't see any mention of him on any of the qualifying sheets for the event so we can only presume they were here solely to test. Or possibly they broke the car and couldn't run on the weekend.

(RIGHT) Debuting a painted, but unlettered '69 Camaro-bodied Nostalgia Funny Car, Derrick Moreira planned to run it and his regular ride, the AA/Fuel Altered in what could be a very busy weekend at the March Meet.

Shawn Van Horn - 'Titan Speed Engineering' --- Jeff Utterback - 'Advanced Surfaces'

(LEFT) After purchasing the "Titan Speed Engineering" company early last year, Shawn Van Horn and wife Krista have been busy getting the Nostalgia Top Fuel car up to speed, so to speak.

(RIGHT) Dropping back a class to the Nitro Pro Comp division was Jeff Utterback in his short wheelbased "Advanced Surfaces" '73 Vega. The NPC class has a 5.90-index and all cars run heads up: rear-engine dragsters, Funny Cars, and altereds. Any fuel, any induction are allowed. Unfortunately, there's never been a big turnout for the class.

The latest update as of February 28, 2023

65th annual Good Vibrations March Meet

Despite some seriously atrocious weather happening on the west coast, the latest reports from Bakersfield indicate mostly sunny skies, BUT some very cool temperatures, like 50 to 60 F. Even a chance of showers on Sunday, but the rest of the event should stay dry. Usually "getting there is half the fun" but for lots of long distance racers, it's going to be no fun at all traversing through snowy mountain passes and impassable roads enroute from the northwest and points east.

While this year's edition of the March Meet was shaping up to have the largest Top Fuel field in nearly a decade, with 19 confirmed pre-entries, the weather and road conditions may cut those numbers down to a barely full 16-car field. It's still going to be a ground-breaking effort with some serious money on the line for the winners, and payouts all the way down to the non-qualifiers, and tow money for the long-distance attendees. Due to some very generous contributions by Custom Floaters and Planet Fitness, and others, the total prize money for Top Fuel will be $60,000.

Read all about it in the Competition Plus article THE BIGGEST PURSE IN MARCH MEET TOP FUEL HISTORY ANNOUNCED. The question that's got to be asked is: what about the Nostalgia Funny Car guys? When are they going to find that kind of money to equal what the Top Fuel racers have secured?

The gates opened today for registration and parking, and tomorrow is first of two days of testing 'n' tuning, before qualifying starts on Friday morning. Eliminations will begin late on Saturday and continue through Sunday until the champions are crowned in the Famoso Winners Circle. We're not sure where the action will be broadcast, but Competition Plus always covers the race in detail and provides video on YouTube so we're hoping it's going to be the case again for 2023. Fingers crossed.

We did receive a photo credential for the race for Bob Snyder but his recovery from a recent hip transplant is progressing slower than he'd like and he's still going to be on the DL (disabled list) for another couple of weeks. It looks like his first event this year will be the 3rd annual Funny Car Chaos Classic at the Texas Motorplex in mid-March. We are hoping that our Denver correspondent, Dale Fackler, who will be shooting from the grandstands and Dyan Lover, who always seems to be at almost every race, will be able to provide us with some photos to fill the gap that Snyder's absence left.

3rd annual Funny Car Chaos Classic

Following two very successful editions, with HUGE participation numbers, this year's edition is guaranteed to be another true classic drag race. It's the opening event of the nine race 2023 season for the Funny Car Chaos gang. The pre-entry list is already showing 53 racers, including at least two dozen nitro burners ready to run. In addition to the floppers, there is a 20-car Outlaw Fuel Altered Association show, and the usual assortment of jet dragsters, Dirty South Gassers, Nostalgia Eliminator, and more.

With four 8-car fields of Funny Cars and a 12-car field of Fuel Altereds, the total prize money of over $55,000 will bring out some great performances by series regulars, and as always happens at this event, some one-off entrants. Back for another try with his A/Fuel Funny Car will be Randy Meyer, with young Julie Nataas at the wheel. Last year's series champion Kirk Williams will be gunning for back-to-back series titles, and he'll be joined by almost all of the 2022 Top Ten racers. There's always at least several "Big Show" nitro cars and this year will be no exception, with what appears to be no less six such beasts on the list.

Unless Mr. Snyder's recovery takes too long, we will have lots of great photos of the action to share. And we've finally given in to the inevitable and have signed up for yet another streaming service (FLO Racing) to see what's happening at the FCC events in real time.

NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Points Structure

This change was announced on January 18th, but it slipped under our radar until we came across it on 2023 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Points Structure. After a one-year "experiment" with a modified points structure, ie. best four of six regional events and best six of ten national events in 2022, the NHRA reversed course and went back to the structure that had been in place for quite a few years. Here's the official announement, courtesy of NHRA.


National Championship:

Each Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car driver is eligible to earn points at their first five regional and first ten national events. A driver’s best three regional and best seven national finishes from their eligible points-earning events will constitute their NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series national championship points total.

This is only conjecture but the reason for the change in 2022 must have been either to cut down on travelling costs for budget-conscious racers, and/or try to increase participation at regional events with a view to attracting more spectators. That's our take on the subject but we're open to different interpretations for the change and the change back.

Races scheduled for this week

Starting tomorrow with test 'n tune sessions is the aforementioned 65th annual Good Vibrations March Meet in Bakersfield, CA. On the east coast, the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Eastern Regional, the "Baby Gators" is on at Gainesville Raceway starting on Thursday, and just down the road at Bradenton, FL is the $100,000 to win Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod (a 48-car invitational event) that begins qualifying on Friday and concludes with a 32-car eliminator on Sunday.

It's going to be a very busy weekend of drag racing, coast to coast, and we'll do our best to bring you at least some of the highlights from each race. Stay tuned for updates throughout the weekend.

The latest update as of February 26, 2023

Western Regional - Wild Horse Motorsports Park - Phoenix, AZ

All that remained for the Top Alcohol cars today was to run the final rounds of eliminations. First up was the Top Alcohol Funny Car final. The odds certainly favoured the reigning World Champion Doug Gordon over the worthy challenger from Alaska, Ray Martin. However, the old cliche about "races are run on the track, NOT on paper" rang true again. Martin left first and finished first, as Gordon smoked the tires right off the starting line and limped to a 7.658 - 139.13 pass. Martin, meanwhile, made another consistent 5.50 run, stopping the timers at 5.552 - 259.31 for the victory. That was his 9th Regional or Divisional victory and the first since Sonoma in October of 2020.

Could lightning strike twice in two final rounds? Despite having the quickest and fastest car all weekend, and holding lane choice by more than five hundredths, Shawn Cowie had to be cognizant of what happened to Doug Gordon in the same lane, just a few minutes earlier. As expected, Joey Severance left first, but by less than two hundredths (.018 to .035), and stretched his lead by the 60' mark, but then it all fell apart for the Oregon team as something broke in the driveline, leaving him to coast down the track to an 11-second loss.

Cowie motored away with another very quick pass at 5.244 and a booming top speed of the meet at 280.43 mph. The speed was a new track record for a blown alky car and the event win was his 36th on the regional-divisional trail over the years. It was a great way to finish his first race of the season and gave him a leg up on what the Mundie's Towing team hopes is a rebounding year after their disappointing fourth place finish in 2022. Next up for both teams will be the Winternationals at the end of March, followed by back-to-back races at Las Vegas in April. Let the battle(s) begin.

The latest update as of February 25, 2023

Western Regional - Wild Horse Motorsports Park - Phoenix, AZ

Starting with a single test session on Thursday for the Top Alcohol racers, action began in earnest yesterday with the first two, of three qualifying sessions. The dragster field featured 10 cars, while Funny Car was a little lacking with just six entries. However, there were some seriously fast floppers in the field, headlined by the current World Champion, Doug Gordon in what is planned to be his final year of driving the very familiar "BETA Motorcycles Camaro. His daughter Maddi is scheduled to take over the wheel next season.

In the dragster ranks, three of the top eight cars in the country from 2022 were starting the current campaign quickly. Leading the charge was 2022's #4, Shawn Cowie who blasted out a 5.270 at an early shutoff 248.80 on Thursday, then followed it up with back-to-back 5.209 passes during yesterday's qualifying. The second pass also saw him nearly top 280 mph with a 279.73 speed for the current Top Speed of The Meet.

Last year's NHRA World Champion, Joey Severance, put down solid efforts, at 5.250 and 5.257, but with speeds down a little at 272 mph. Those numbers were good enough for the #3 spot on the ladder going into today's final qualifying session. Sandwiched between friendly rivals Cowie and Severance, was last year's #8 finisher in the championship chase, Madison Payne, in the Duane Shields-owned "Muscle Milk" A/Fuel Dragster. Her 5.213 - 271.90 in the first session on Friday left her just a few thousandths behind Cowie on the list.

On the Funny Car side, Doug Gordon let everyone know that he was ready to back up last year's championship, by hammering out a 5.503 - 265.69 on his Thursday test pass. He blasted into the 40's with an excellent 5.487 - 266.53 in the first qualifying session, then dropped an absolute bomb on the rest of the field with a 5.398 - 271.24 in the second session. Incidentally, that was a new track e.t. record for Top Alcohol Funny Car. That put the Gordon team nearly two tenths of a second ahead of #2 qualifier Ray Martin's solid, but trailing, 5.571 - 246.26 effort. An expected challenger for the top spot, Annie Whiteley, was having trouble as her best was a great half track effort in the first session that ended with a 5.784 - 188.31 clocking, good enough only for the #4 spot in the 6-car field.

The final qualifying session and first round of eliminations is scheduled for today, with the semifinal and final rounds of competition on tap for Sunday. We'll update this section with results as they come in from Wild Horse. Stay tuned for updates here.

One very interesting sidebar news from Wild Horse was the official competition debut of an EFI-equipped Top Alcohol Dragster. NHRA made a rules adjustment over the winter to allow such a combination to race and Bob Button from Gulfport, FL was the first racer to use the EFI option on his dragster. He did appear at a number of Division 7 - Western Region races last year in test mode before NHRA legalized the new combination. His test pass on Thursday went well, and yesterday's first qualifying run was solid until just past half track before it smoked an engine. Unsurprisingly, the team didn't appear for the second session and we wouldn't be surprised to see them done for the weekend.


The final qualifying session at Phoenix is in the books. The dragsters came out first, and after blowing it up yesterday, Bob Button managed to get the engine back together and made it into the lanes. The bump spot after Friday's two sessions was a 5.453 (Casey Grisel) and the first pair in this final session matched Button against fellow non-qualifier Mitch Myers. When the scoreboards lit up, with Button's lane showing a 5.394 - 262.08 and Myers' lane a 5.359 - 267.59, it rearranged the qualifying ladder significantly. Ron Anderson and Grisel were out, and Eric Chesleigh dropped from #6 to #8, setting the new bump spot at a 5.409 e.t.

The second pair of the round featured Grisel in the Darien & Grisel A/Fuel car, and he did what he had, bumping his way back into the show with a 5.373 - 263.41 to move past Chesleigh and Button to the #7 spot in the field. The run bumped out Chesleigh and put Button on the bubble with his 5.394 clocking. Unfortunately, Chesleigh's 5.44 in the other lane left him on the outside looking in. The last racer with a chance to get back onto the qualifying list, Ron Anderson was next in line and he bumped his way back into the field in a big way, blasting out a 5.285 - 273.72 to jump all the way from #10 to #4 and first round lane choice over Chris Demke. in the "Peen-Rite" machine. That bumped out Bob Button and left his EFI car as a non-qualifier in his first race. The final bump for the 8-car field was set at 5.373 (Grisel), with Button and Chesleigh on the non-qualifier side of the sheet.

The Funny Cars weren't facing any bump spot scenarios as the final session began, but lane choice(s) were at stake. In the first pair, Jake Guadagnolo climbed from #5 to #3 despite hurting the engine on the top end. His 5.577 - 250.41 was enough to put him in the top half of the field, pending the results from the other cars in the staging lanes. And it happened quickly as Annie Whiteley finally laid down a representative run from her usually hard-running car, a 5.544 - 263.26 to vault from #5 to the second spot on the list and first round lane choice. The final pair to run included Ray Martin, who tried hard to get back the #2 spot but just fell short with a solid, consistent, but not quite quick enough 5.565 - 259.41 to stay in the #3 slot on the qualifying list.


The first round of eliminations got underway with the #4 and #5 cars meeting, and in a bit of an upset, despite the lower qualifying position, Ron Anderson drove away from a tire shaking and driveline breaking Chris Demke with a 5.503 - 266.74 against Demke's coasting 7.603 - 115.29 effort. The second pairing resulted in a much closer race, especially if you ignore the reaction times. Joey Severance outran Johnny Ahten with a 5.349 - 269.46 over Ahten's 5.351 - 260.11. The reaction difference was four hundredths in Severance's favour, resulting in a one car length victory.

In the third pair of the round, Mitch Myers threw away whatever chance he had against Madison Payne with an oh-so-close -.002 redlight. It was all academic however as his 5.425 - 265.53 pass wasn't close to matching Payne's 5.259 - 272.94 winning numbers. Closing out the round were the #1 (Shawn Cowie) and #8 (Casey Grisel) racers, with Cowie winning, despite his "worst" run of the weekend, an otherwise great 5.231 - 277.60 to trainlength Grisel's second best 5.549 pass. That set up semifinal pairings of Cowie vs Anderson and Payne vs Severance.

Funny Car eliminations started with a close race between young Hunter Jones and Annie Whiteley. Jones left first by a few hundredths, but finished second by more than a few hundredths. The margin at the finish line was a little more than a car length, with Whiteley's 5.506 - 265.05 turning on the winlight over Jones' consistent 5.588 - 261.83 pass. The "Southwest Graphics" team had a great weekend despite the loss, with career best numbers for e.t. and mph that showed they were ready to be a competitive car in 2023.

With a bye to the final on the line in the next pairing, Mike Gordon simply ran way from Mike Doushgounian with another strong pass of 5.470 - 268.60 to easily outdistance Mikey D.'s pedalling 5.701 - 255.92 clocking. That moved Gordon directly to the final, assuming they would be able to start and stage the car in the second round. The first round closed with a pedal clutch vs torque converter battle, with the clutch of Alaskan Ray Martin coming out on top as Jake Guadagnolo ran into tire shake early and shut off to a mid 6-second clocking. Martin advanced with a consistent 5.632 - 259.76 that wasn't quick enough to secure lane choice over Whiteley in the semifinal.


With the sun setting and darkness descending, the semifinal round opened with the dragsters coming out of the lanes first. Leading off was Madison Payne facing the reigning world champion Joey Severance. Payne held lane choice by a 5.259 to 5.349 margin, but it didn't mean anything when the lights flashed. Severane left first by less than two hundredths, while Payne launched with the front wheels in the air. They kept getting higher and the car started moving out of the groove until she wisely lifted and coasted to a 7.299 - 123.05, while Severance motored away to another 5.20 pass, this time stopping the clocks with a 5.273 - 272.78 to move to tomorrow's final round.

The other semifinal dragster pairing was seriously anticlimatic, as Ron Anderson was unable to fire his injected nitro car, leaving Shawn Cowie with a bye run to the final. He didn't spare the horse(power)s as he pounded out another great 5.216 - 279.15 to take lane choice going into tomorrow's final round against what seems like his constant final round opponent, Joey Severance. The two best blown alcohol dragster racers in the world are going to yet another final round match against each other. Be sure to stay tuned to tomorrow's report to see the results.

The Funny Car semis opened with a bye run by Doug Gordon. All he had to do was start the car, idle up to the starting line, stage the car and shut if off to advance to the final round. However, the Gordon clan don't even know how to spell "idle", let alone do it, and Doug ripped off another great run, stopping the clocks at 5.425 - 269.94 to almost certainly earn lane choice for Sunday's final round. The one pairing of the round saw an upset as Ray Martin holeshotted his way to the final round with a very close win against Annie Whiteley. Martin cut a very close (.023) light to Whiteley's decent .089 reaction, and parlayed that .066 advantage into a .007 winning margin at the finish ine. His very consistent 5.569 - 259.11 just held off Whiteley's very close 5.510 - 265.53 charge. It wasn't quick enough to take lane choice from Gordon but it was enough to move into his first final round at a regional event in more than two years.

Nitro on The Bayou - No Problem Raceway - Belle Rose, LA

Participation among the alcohol ranks was a "little" less than at Phoneix, as only five dragsters appeared, and just three Funny Cars. It appears that most of the eastern racers decided to wait until next weekend's Eastern Regional at Gainesville to start their season. Despite the low number of competitors, there were some seriously quick and fast cars in attendance, ranging from championship contender Bob McCosh in his Funny Car, and Julie Nataas and Aaron Cooper in their A/Fuel Dragsters.

Leading the dragsters was Julie Nataas in the Randy Meyer Racing entry, with a second session 5.231 - 281.11 taking the top spot. Her speed was pretty impressive, but Wichita's Aaron Cooper

carded the top speed (he's also the national record holder in the class at 286.62) with a 283.86 mph run, coupled with his #2 qualifying 5.251 e.t. times. With the odd-sized field, Nataas earned the first round bye, and if Cooper advances over rookie Prescott Dean in the first round, he will earn the semifinal bye.

Funny Car qualifying was drama-free with just three cars in the field, but all three laid down some good passes. Leading the way was Kyle Smith with a solid 5.506, with Bob McCosh sitting half a tenth back with a pair of 5.56 passes for the #2 spot. Well back in e.t. was the "Family Fued" car of Christine Foster, but her early shutoff 5.738 - 217.72 showed that there were competitive numbers lurking somewhere under the Camaro body.


The Funny Cars opened eliminations, with the Christine Foster versus Bob McCosh pairing running first. After a strong burnout, Foster had to be pushed back to the starting line, but had no problems getting it into a forward gear. Despite running a career best (?), at 5.558 - 264.22, Foster lost to McCosh's slightly slower 5.585 - 261.35 time due to a late leave. McCosh left first by a full tenth (.056 to .156) and held on for a win of more than car length. Earning the bye run into the final due to his low qualifying effort, Kyle Smith ran hard to half track before shutting off to a 6.249 - 162.48 and advancing to the final round, albeit without lane choice.


With the (very) short field of Funny Cars, the final round was run in mid-afternoon. Holding lane choice was Bob McCosh since Kyle Smith had shut off at half track on his semifinal bye run. When the tree came down, McCosh left first by two hundredths, but the converter equipped car of Smith made up that gap - and more - before the 60' timers. He lengthened his lead to eight hundredths by the 330' clocks, then opened it up to three car lengths at the finish line. Oddly, both cars clicked it a little early, with Smith's 5.513 - 258.92 winning decisively over McCosh's 5.658 - 258.32 times.

The dragsters followed, with Aaron Cooper taking it easy on his bye run, shutting off to 7.277 - 123.68 clocking to move into the final. In the only pairing of the round, two women faced off, with New Jersey's Jackie Fricke taking the win over Julie Nataas when the Randy Meyer car was forced to pedal early and fail to catch up with a 5.646 - 254.94 clocking. Fricke took the winlight with a solid 5.370 - 276.72 pass, good enough to hold lane choice over Cooper for the final round.


In the dragster final, Aaron Cooper finished off a great weekend with another solid pass, a 5.302 - 283.25 to take the event win over New Jersey's Jackie Fricke in the John Finke owned and tuned A/Fuel car. Fricke left first by 14 thousandths, but her 5.385 - 267.35 wasn't enough to stay close to Cooper. The gap at the finish line was more than a car length as Cooper took his first win at No Problem Raceway after his runnerup performance here last year.

We'll be back tomorrow with some updates on the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet, the World Series of Pro Mod, and the Eastern Region "Baby Gators" at Gainesville Raceway. They're all happening next weekend. And we'll have the final round results from the Wesern Region race at Phoenix. Stay tuned for those updates.

The latest update as of February 19, 2023

MARCH MEET News and other items of interest

The gates open at Famoso Dragstrip in ten days for two days of testing and tuning before the 65th annual Good Vibrations March Meet starts qualifying on March 3rd and 4th, with eliminations starting late on the 4th and finishing with the finals on March 5th. It's going to be a different race this year with a 16-car field of Nostalgia Top Fuel cars competing for $60,000 in purse money. That will make it the highest paying nostalgia race ever. Even though the Nostalgia Funny Cars are also competing with 16 cars qualified, they haven't found the sponsorship to fund the large payout that the dragsters are receiving.

Click on the link below to hear all about the event

March Meet 2023 Commercial

We will do our best to present a comprehensive report on the March Meet, with photos, captions and stories, but we're already down one photographer, as our hard working lensman, BIG Bob Snyder is still recovering from a recent hip transplant. His progess has been slow enough that he's decided to pass on the nostalgia race and set his sights on being ready for the opening of the 2023 FUNNY CAR CHAOS season. They'll kick it off with the third annual Funny Car Chaos Classic (it was called "Nitro Madness" in 2020) at the Texas Motorplex in mid-March. There's already 45 Funny Cars - hold on, it's now up to 47 - and 19 Outlaw Fuel Altereds on the entry list so it promises to be another true "classic" event.

The latest update as of February 5, 2023

The 2023 Drag Racing season is underway

After a long winter hiberation, the snow has melted at Northern Thunder's headquarters in Spirit Bay, and we're back to where we left off in early November 2022. Yes, we're still working on filling in the blanks for many of our event features from last season but we are making progress. And while we're at it, we're laying the groundwork for much quicker postings from the events we'll be covering this season. Our ace photographer, Bob Snyder, is recuperating from a recent hip replacement, and if his right knee doesn't cause more trouble, he'll be back in action starting with the 65th annual Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet in just four weeks.

After that, it's one week off before the 3rd annual Funny Car Chaos Classic kicks off the FCC season at the Texas Motorplex. There's already 39 cars entered in the Funny Car field, and 18 AA/Fuel Altereds on the pre-entry list. As it's been for the past two seasons, it's going to be a tremendous start to what should be the biggest and best season of Funny Car Chaos racing yet. With nine races on the schedule, it will be an action-packed year of "run what ya brung" 1/8th mile racing.

Partnering with Funny Car Chaos is the even wilder concept of Nitro Chaos which will double the number of events in 2023, as it's done each year since it's inception in 2021 with a single race. Last year thee were two events and this year will see a total of four, starting at Edgewater Raceway Park in late April, then as part of a double-header extravaganza (coupled with an FCC race) at Eddyville Raceway in late May. The Nitro Chaos series concludes with a race at Mo-Kan in mid July and the finale at Thunder Valley (Noble, OK) in September. An added attraction this season is a $10K points fund with $5,000 to the series champion. Individual race payouts are $7,500 to win ("A" field), all the way down to $1,000 for first round loser in the "B" field.

As stated on the Nitro Chaos home page... ANY nitro powered machine is eligble and "If it's burning 80% NITRO or better, it's legal and it's ON!". The closing line of their mission statement reads "Dragsters of any kind, altereds, funny cars, door slammers, BRING IT!". Winning the inaugural event in 2021 was Scott Palmer in his "Big Show" Top Fuel car, setting series records of 3.218 - 265.54 along the way. Last year saw former two-time NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion Megan Meyer take the "A" field win over teammate Julie Nataas at the Mo-Kan event, while a pair of Fuel Altereds battled in the final round at Eddyville. Taking that win was Jody Austin in the "Bushwhacker" over Anthony Whitfield in the small-block Chevy-powered "Mighty Mouse".

In other drag racing news, the Drag Illustrated-backed "World Series of Pro Mod" event is running at Bradenton, FL on the first weekend of March. The biggest news out of that race - so far - is the $100,000 to win purse for the 40-car invitational field in the marquee Pro Mod class. When qualifying concludes, the 32-car field will run for the BIG money in five rounds of racing. Unlike any other drag race anywhere, it's a winner take all race, with all the cash on the line in the final round. The only other money at stake is the low qualifier bonus of $10,000, a not insignificant sum on it's own.

Backing up the Pro Mods is a 16-car $25,000 to win (again, winner take all) Mountain Motor Pro Stock field which will include some of the biggest names in Pro Stock racing, including the defending (and five-time) NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Erica Enders in one of the best mountain motor cars in the business, an ex-J.R. Carr Mustang. Other classes included in the show will be a 16-car NHRA-legal Factory Stock Classic field, and an Xtreme Front Wheel Drive Challenge. For those unable to attend the event in person, it has been reported that the event will be telecast on CBS Sports in prime time in mid-April, with a minimum one-hour show that may be expanded to two hours.

The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series started this weekend with the first Southeast Division Two race at Orlando, FL with fields ranging from Top Dragster and Top Sportsman, to Competition Eliminator, and on down to Junior Dragster. Solid turnouts in all categories and decent weather were a good omen for the start of another season of NHRA sportsman racing. The next events on the NHRA calendar are three weeks from now with a doubleheader Divisonal and Regional event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, as the popular Arizona facility enters it's final season of racing. Another double event is taking place at Belle Rose, LA's No Problem Raceway as the South Central Division Four season starts and the first regional event of the Central Region is on tap at the same time.

Following that big weekend of drag racing action, the March Meet and the World Series of Pro Mod will be the second consecutive week of major events which will continue until the conclusion of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series in mid-November. In other words, it's going to be another busy year in the drag racing world. Stay on top of things by checking out our latest updates on a regular basis this year and in the future.

The latest update as of January 11, 2023

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Northern Thunder headquarters snowed in

This is the view from the next door neighbour's taken on Christmas Day 2022. The sun was shining, the snow was piled DEEP and we were stuck inside the house for the better part of a week. Just to make it even more "interesting", the sewer line froze for a day until I managed to thaw it out, then the power went out for nearly a full day, but we survived into another year. Barely.

The weather is back to normal for this time of year, with the mercury hitting the 50 (F) mark yesterday, sun shining today until the rain starts again this evening, and it appears we've dodged the worst of the winter weather already. Time to get back to work on this website and the first order of business is tidying up all the reports from last year, filling in all the details, and organizing things. Stay tuned for that to be accomplished, but don't expect to see it too quickly.

To see previous updates, go to the What's Old page

Return to the Top of the page